SBD/17/Sports Media

WAS WRIGHT WRONGED? "HE SAID, SHE SAID" DEBATE CONTINUES

     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).
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