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WAS WRIGHT WRONGED? "HE SAID, SHE SAID" DEBATE CONTINUES
Published May 17, 1995
Commentary continues on the alleged comments of CBS golf analyst Ben Wright that lesbianism has hurt the image of the LPGA, with several female columnists entering the fray. In San Francisco, Joan Ryan writes, "For all the uproar about his remarks, they weren't as disturbing as the response to them. ... In the real world, the perception of rampant lesbianism in the golf tour has absolutely affected its popularity with corporate America" (SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE, 5/17). In Miami, Linda Robertson writes, "Unfortunately, the devaluation of women makes headlines instead of the accomplishments of women" (MIAMI HERALD, 5/16). In Boston, Jack Craig writes, "The subject will not go away quickly. The ingredients are the stuff of tabloids. Someone's lying, there is gay-bashing and sex, and goliath CBS is plunk in the middle" (BOSTON GLOBE, 5/16). In New York, Steve Zipay notes that the controversy did little to boost CBS's ratings for the LPGA McDonald's Championship. The event drew a 1.7 both Saturday and Sunday -- down 6% and 17% respectively from '94. Zipay writes, "No Tonya vs. Nancy curiosity here" (NEWSDAY, 5/16). Bob Costas was asked about the controversy on Tom Snyder's "Late, Late Show" last night. Costas: "One bit of circumstantial evidence that weighs in Wright's favor is this. He is 62 or 63 years old. He has had a very long career in broadcasting and he has never appeared to be this sort of reckless person who would make crass comments like this" (CBS, 5/17). WHO SAID WHAT, WHEN? Wilmington NEWS JOURNAL Exec Editor John Walston told USA TODAY that reporter Valerie Helmbreck "has very clear notes" from her conversation with Wright. Walston: "These are not chicken-scratch notes. They conducted the interview in a back office. There was no one leaning over his or her shoulder. ... He was the first to raise the lesbian issue." Rudy Martzke asks, "If there were no others present during the Helmbreck-Wright interview, as told by Helmbreck to Walston, then who are the staffers CBS said confirmed Wright's denial." CBS Sports spokesperson Robin Brendle said "nothing has changed" to alter the statements made Friday by Wright or CBS Sports President David Kenin (USA TODAY, 5/17). Jack Craig notes that ABC's "Good Morning America" tried to arrange a Wright-Helmbreck meeting for yesterday's show (BOSTON GLOBE, 5/17).