Another American track star done in by an unfair drug test ruling?? You be the judge…
Olympic track and field athlete Brianna Rollins-McNeal has lost her appeal of a five-year suspension over missing a drug test in January of 2020, according to an announcement from the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Switzerland.
McNeal, who won the gold medal at the 2016 Olympics in the 100-meter hurdles, had qualified last month to once again compete in the Tokyo games coming up later this year. However, after losing her appeal, she will be suspended from competition for five years and is no longer allowed to compete in Tokyo.
Now McNeal is coming forward with her own side of the story regarding the missing test — and it’s truly heartbreaking.
According to the hurdles champion, she was at home in Northridge, California on that fateful day in January 2020 recovering from an abortion when anti-doping officials came to her door. She says she was lying in bed at the time — having just gone through the procedure two days before — and did not hear officials as they knocked on her door.
Sadly, the Court of Arbitration for Sport declined to accept McNeal’s claim on Friday, and instead upheld their earlier decision to hand down a five-year ban from the sport. As part of the punishment, the 29-year-old sprinter will also be forced to withdraw herself from “all previous competitive results” she registered between February and August 2020 — when she was still competing after the missed drug test and during the suspension appeal.
Clearly upset by losing the appeal — especially considering the context, after going through something as serious as an abortion procedure days earlier — McNeal spoke to the New York Times about the situation.
The star athlete broke the hearts of fans and followers all over the world when she told the outlet (below):
“Right now I feel excommunicated from the sport itself and stigmatized, and to me it is unfair. I just don’t believe that this warranted a suspension at all, much less a five-year suspension, for just a technicality, an honest mistake during a very emotional time.”
And she added:
“They say that they are protecting athletes that are clean, but I don’t feel protected at all. I just feel like I’m being judged for this very big decision I made that really affected my life.”
McNeal also adamantly told the Times that she is “not doping” and “will never dope.” Not a denial of any and all drug use? Inneresting considering we’ve also got athletes currently banned for recreational marijuana use. Hmm.
World Athletics — the governing body that oversees track and field athletes — specifically charged McNeal with changing the date on her doctor’s note when she went to inform drug-testing officials of the aforementioned medical procedure. The track star argues that she didn’t change the date, but that the abortion clinic had actually written out the incorrect date on the note, thereby causing confusion and leaving her unprepared for when drug-testing officials showed up at her door.
Also on Friday, the Athletics Integrity Unit tweeted (below) that it was planning to publish a “detailed” explanation of the decision to uphold McNeal’s suspension:
The detailed CAS decision is to be published in due course, while an operative award can be seen here ⬇️
— Athletics Integrity Unit (@aiu_athletics) July 2, 2021
Of course, this news comes right on the heels of the bombshell suspension levied against American sprinter Sha’Carri Richardson, who tested positive for marijuana after qualifying for the Tokyo games in the 100-meter dash.
A difficult situation all around here — for both athletes in their own ways.
What do U make of McNeal’s story and the suspension situation, Perezcious readers? Are they treating her unfairly? Is there more to the story?? Sound off about it with your opinions on the matter down in the comments (below)…