Have you heard about the Canadian woman speed skater who opted out of HER country's relays at this very Olympics so she could concentrate on her individual race? No, of course not. Because cry baby Chad Hedrick (or his Canadian female equivalent) isn't making a federal case out of this. Athletes do this all the time.
Shani never played a race card. He didn't say the media was on his back because he was black. He never said Chad Hedrick (what's with his eyebrows, by the way?) was rather rude to him because he was black. Shani is an elite athlete in a field where there are almost NO black skaters. He is "the black guy." He is in a sport where with the exception of maybe Apolo Ohno, the endorsements are minimal -- even for gold medal winners (Derek Parra is still working for Home Depot). Do you really think Wheaties was going to put Davis's face on its box? I don't. Speedskating is a fringe sport and the major endorsements will go to a figure skater or someone in a more "showy" sport.
His biggest endorsements are from European companies (I think a Dutch or Belgium bank is one of his biggest sponsors). His biggest fans are from Europe. He doesn't have to answer questions about his race when he's in Europe--even though there are proportionately less black people there than in the United States.
When I saw that interview he did after winning with that reporter, the first thing I thought was, "What a bimbo." Her job as a reporter is to get information and comments from people who do NOT necessarily want to talk to her. It's easy to talk to someone dying for publicity. But it's completely unprofessional for a TV commentator to roll her eyes when she gets an unexpected answer. She was completely flustered and couldn't figure out a way to end the interview gracefully. That's HER job. He did his job--he won the gold.
As for Hedrick--I was really happy he won his medal. But I don't like his behavior either and I'm liking him less and less each time I hear him talk.
The relay race traditionally is done after the individual races are completed. This time, they put it right near the beginning of the competition. Hedrick/the U.S. team never asked Davis to participate until 1 week before the race. That's not enough time for a competitor to change his routine. Plus, Davis brought up a great point--if he had competed in the race, he would've been taking away a spot from a U.S. team member who wouldn't have skated in any other race. Having been in a similar position 4 years ago at Salt Lake City where he went to the Olympics but didn't get to skate, he said he'd never put anyone in that position.
Michael Phelps did the same thing at the last Summer Olympics when he sat out in a team relay race so that Ian Crocker (I believe) could have a shot at winning a medal. If Phelps had swam, Crocker would've gone home with nothing. The argument could've been made that the U.S. could've won with a faster record had he swam...but you get my point.
And NBC didn't bother to show Davis getting congratulated by the Dutch team, or the ovation he received from the crowd (filled with Dutch fans who adore him). They didn't air the comments by Joey Cheek supporting him. It's to their advantage to present him as the villian. After all, every "show" needs "an angry black man" in its cast.
I'm not loving NBC's coverage. When Apolo WON the bronze medal in short track, the reporter basically made him feel like a putz for "losing" to the two Korean skaters. Then she said something so offensive -- she asked if he lost because they may have cheated. Huh? There was no cheating. Anyone with eyes could see that! But yeah--that's why the U.S. "loses"--because all the other countries cheat ...
If I could replace all these reporters with some people who could do their jobs without coming across as hacks, it'd make the viewing experience sooooooooooo much better.