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 Monday, April 17
Capriati, Davenport out of Family Circle Cup
 Associated Press

COLUMBIA, S.C. -- Tennis player Alexandra Stevenson thinks speaking out against the Confederate flag is a more effective tactic than honoring the NAACP's boycott of South Carolina.

"I think this could be resolved if more people came and shared their thoughts," Stevenson said after meeting with Gov. Jim Hodges to talk about the flag.

The flag represents "the oppression of many people" and it should come down, said Stevenson, the daughter of basketball great Julius Erving.

Stevenson is taking part in the Family Circle Cup. Last week, Serena Williams withdrew from the Family Cup to support the boycott.

The tournament, which began Monday on Hilton Head Island, also lost top-ranked Lindsay Davenport and Jennifer Capriati because of leg injuries.

South Carolina remains the only state to fly the flag above its Statehouse, though the state Senate passed a compromise last week to take it down and fly a similar square flag at the Confederate soldier monument on Statehouse grounds. The House must also approve that plan.

The move followed a tourism boycott of the state by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. It began Jan. 1 to force down the flag that has flown above the dome since 1962. The NAACP says it is a hateful symbol. Flag supporters say it represents the state's heritage.

"I decided to stand up and come to the tournament because I'm coming in to do my job and also to have a voice," Stevenson said. "To let people know what I think and people my age think."

The flag has become a worldwide issue, not just a topic among tennis players contemplating whether to honor the boycott, she said. South Carolina now is synonymous with the flag, not for beaches or nice places to visit, she said.

"That alone is good enough reason to resolve this controversy," Hodges said.

But the NAACP and some black lawmakers have rejected the Senate-passed plan because the flag would be too visible. But Hodges said the compromise is a "significant improvement."

The bill is expected to be considered Wednesday for the first time in a House subcommittee.

Citing Confederate flag, Williams pulls out of S.C. tourney