The latest episode in the soap opera surrounding the U.S. men's 400-meter relay team had a happy ending, at least publicly.
A smiling Carl Lewis shook hands with sprint coach Russ Rogers for the benefit of photographers at the team's workout Tuesday and both tried to downplay their long-simmering brouhaha over the makeup of the team.But there were signs of lingering ill feelings.
Rogers said Monday that Lewis would be kicked off the team if he persisted in what the coach characterized as disruptive behavior. But Lewis said Rogers denied making the comment during a 45-minute telephone conversation Tuesday morning.
"I called him and he said he didn't say that," Lewis said. "Who am I to call anyone a liar, so I just have to take his word for it."
"Everything's OK between us," Rogers said as he shook hands with Lewis, "and we're going to break the world record."
But, moments later when Lewis wasn't around, Rogers said kicking Lewis off the relay team is still a possibility if the sprint star's business manager, Joe Douglas, "sticks his nose in things."
Still, Rogers indicated Lewis and Douglas may get their way and have Lewis' training partner and Santa Monica Track Club teammate, Joe DeLoach, on the relay team.
Lewis and Douglas have argued that DeLoach belongs on the team instead of Albert Robinson, and Rogers has criticized the two for trying to force their wishes on the U.S. team.
"I think the big issue was Joe Douglas trying to dictate to me what I should do," Rogers said.
Rogers also had said Douglas' pass that allows him to attend the U.S. team's workouts would be revoked, but Douglas was at Tuesday's session and there were no indications he would not be allowed to continue have access to the practices.
"If Russ Rogers wants to attack me, that's his prerogative," Douglas said, "but I have a right to be here."