Outrage followed, and when the snit hit the fan, Wright claimed he had been misquoted. CBS chose to believe him, and there matters remained until late November, when Wright was quoted in SPORTS ILLUSTRATED as having told writer and novelist Dan Jenkins, at a party last June, that he had indeed made the comments that Helmbreck reported. Though Jenkins said later that it was possible Wright had made the admission in jest, by that time Wright had dug himself a hole he couldn't climb out of by falsely characterizing Helmbreck as a divorcée and possibly a lesbian who was involved in a bitter custody fight with her ex-husband. Last week, CBS gave in and suspended him, despite having signed him to a new four-year contract in August. Wright, a native of Bedfordshire, England, who now lives in Flat Rock, N.C., with his wife, Kitty, continued to insist that he was misquoted, though he acknowledged making "insensitive remarks" and offered a belated apology to Helmbreck: "I shall be more thoughtful and, I hope, more sensitive in the future," he said.
Helmbreck, married 15 years to News Journal Assistant City Editor Al Mascitti, with whom she has three children, says she feels vindicated. "I've always known what the truth is. I'm really glad this is over."