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17 February 2006

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BRIAN

Carl Quintanilla profiled Shani Davis on Thursday night's Nightly News with Brian Williams. There's text and video available: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/11388930/ .

I've asked around for opinions on this issue. In the last comment thread about Shani, most people disagreed with my comments about Davis' behavior.

I think I need to clarify. I respect Shani Davis and it is his right to choose not to participate in team competition, whether it's because he wants to focus on his individual events or because he feels he was shunned in 2002 by the American speedskating team.

I'm proud that Davis is representing our country, and even more proud that he's the current No. 1-ranked skater.

I don't presume to know what happened in Salt Lake City. Davis has put the business out there by saying he was shunned by the team; "the team" hasn't responded (at least, in the dispatches that I've read).

Either way, it's Davis' right to choose to return the cold shoulder in whatever way he pleases. But, I look at it from the perspective of being the bigger person. Someone has to step up, whether it be a parent, a team member, a coach, a trainer or Oprah and stop whatever has caused this riff between Shani & Co.

Again, full disclaimer, I'm not claiming to know what (if anything) the white members (well, there's Derek Parra, too) of the team did to Shani. He doesn't exactly elaborate. But it has become a public spat. And not a very fun-to-watch one either.

Wouldn't it be funny if this was a misunderstanding that snowballed into the alienation that it is today?

*sigh* Gotta love the peace and love at the Olympics.

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