Gatlin and Harting were among the 10 athletes nominated by the IAAF for the annual award. Gatlin has served a four-year doping ban.
Harting tells Spiegel magazine "it's insulting for me and my fans" to be on the same list with Gatlin.
The three-time world champion says he is "officially asking" to be removed from the list.
Harting says he finds the nomination "great, but I am a candidate along with a doping offender and that's the reason for me to withdraw."