SBD/9/Sports Media

LPGA CHAMPIONSHIP BRINGS BACK MEMORIES OF WRIGHT INCIDENT

     Ben Wright's controversial comments on lesbianism on the
LPGA Tour from a year ago were a main topic at the McDonald's
LPGA Championships.  LPGA Commissioner Jim Ritts took on the
subject directly in a news conference yesterday, citing the
positive developments in the past years as proof that Wright was
wrong.  Ritts:  "In its own way, it did turn out to be a
positive, a rallying point for our players and it gave the
outside world a chance to look at our tour.  It took something as
absurd as this.  But something good came out of it" (Larry
Dorman, N.Y. TIMES, 5/9).  In Phila., Joe Juliano writes that
Wright's comments became a "launching point" for the LPGA
(PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 5/9).
     WHERE ARE THEY NOW?  Valerie Helmbreck, the reporter from
the Wilmington (DE) News Journal who printed Wright's comments,
decided to leave the area for the week of the tournament.  Citing
the flood of media requests she began receiving, Helmbreck said,
"It wouldn't be fair to the LPGA.  When the reporter is the
story, the reporter is out of place."  She said she and her
husband will be in "a tiny hut on a beach in the Yucatan"
("Inside Golf," SI, 5/13).  The N.Y. TIMES reports that Helmbreck
is still considering legal action against CBS for defamation of
character.  As for Wright, CBS Sports President David Kenin
reacted to comments earlier in the week by CBS Golf Producer
Frank Chirkinian that he wants Wright back.  Kenin:  "Frank's
position is not the position of the company.  The fact of the
matter is that there are no plans at this time to do anything
with Ben on television" (Larry Dorman, N.Y. TIMES, 5/9).  Kenin
said he apologized to LPGA players last week on behalf of the
network.  Kenin:  "I said we felt badly about what happened. ...
It took away from the game of golf" (Leonard Shapiro, WASHINGTON
POST, 5/9).  Helmbreck, on CBS:  "When I get an apology, I'll
have a reaction" (USA TODAY, 5/9).
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