A funny thing happened to 610 Sports afternoon host Nick Wright on the way to the dentist yesterday…
He awoke to a column by former KCC media sport Greg Hall claiming that Wright was so damaged from an on-air encounter with former Star sports scribe Jason Whitlock on Monday that he was taking yesterday and today off from his radio show.
That somehow Wright had been either wrist-slapped off the air by management at Entercom or so shamed he couldn’t bear to face listeners.
Which I can now report was ridiculously bogus. Really.
"Nick Wright Takes Sudden ‘Vacation’ Following The Dissestion," reads the headline on Hall’s story about the show.
"Is Wright’s absence the rest of the week an unannounced vacation or a result of his tumultuous on-air dialogue with Jason Whitlock earlier this week that has now been dubbed, “The Dissection?” Hall wrote. "It would seem to be at least partly due to his dual encounters with the Round Mound of Sound. I am guessing Whitlock will not be taking the rest of the week off to recover."
"Apparently, Wright has taken The Dissection far harder than even any of us know," Hall added. "Instead of enjoying his time in the spotlight – and make no mistake, Wright and his show have been on the main stage this week – he has chosen to create so much inner strife that he is off his show instead of capitalizing on what surely would be his most anticipated afternoons maybe all year"
"The more I read over these comments from Wright, the more I understand why someone at Entercom decided he needed some time off."
OK, now hold it wright there!
Hall’s story was up and at ’em early Thursday. However, by sheer accident, I happened onto the real reason Wright took yesterday and today off. And it had absolutely nothing to do with Jason Whitlock’s faint-hearted dissing of Wright on Monday.
The entire conspiracy theory about Wright being suspended or somehow shamed is – in a word – bogus. Silly even.
After reading Greg’s and another local blogger’s take, I conjured another opinion. So I texted Wright at 8:25 p.m. Wednesday to try and get an interview.
"Hey, can we talk," I texted, before Hall’s story appeared Thursday.
"Tomorrow is tuff because I’m having some dental work done," Wright texted back. "Call you after royals game?"
Late yesterday Hall did add a disclaimer from Wright’s boss telling him that Nick’s time off was for personal reasons and had nothing to do with the trumped up Whitlock soap.
But by then the damage had been done.
"I have wondered myself how this week will ultimately affect Nick’s radio career," Hall had wondered aloud in his column. "I think taking two days off immediately following The Dissection was not a good start."
Now here’s the real story – about Wright’s teeth and gums – which has absolutely nothing to do with the all-but-forgotten by many, former Kansas City Star sports columnist.
In the scheme of things, it’s pretty funny, actually.
"It’s like I didn’t go to the dentist for like a decade," Wright says. "And today they did a procedure on one half of my mouth. And tomorrow (Friday), they do the other half. Then in the next couple months I’m having all four of my wisdom teeth out. And hopefully, the rest of my teeth won’t fall out."
The painfully obvious reason Wright wasn’t on the air yesterday and won’t be today:
"They numbed my whole mouth so I wasn’t able to talk very well for several hours," Wright says. "And I had talked about this on the air a couple of times weeks ago, and after Whitlock called back the first time and before the second time, I told (my fill-in host), ‘Don’t mention that I’m not going to be here Thursday and Friday. Because the people who listen to the show already know. But I’ll bet you money that Hall (or another local blogger) without checking a single thing will write something about that I was suspended.’ And before my show even started, Greg wrote a whole column about it."
The bottom line on the deal for Wright:
"In the last week, Greg offered to tuck me in at night on Twitter, he called me a bitch twice and he’s written three columns entirely about me. One of which was a complete and utter fabrication by a middle-aged software developer who I’ve never met but is obsessed with me, which at this point is getting a little creepy."
Re the possibility Hall really believes Nick got suspended or whatever?
"I don’t know what he thinks," Wright says. "That’s certainly the impression he gives purposely. He either thinks I got suspended or I am so mentally depressed by the fictitious beat down at the hands of Jason Whitlock that I’m taking a couple days off.
"You know, a grown man calls you a bitch and offers to tuck you in at night – he definitely wants me to acknowledge him on Twitter. I mean, if he picks up 10 percent of my Twitter followers, that doubles him. I don’t mind the name calling, but I do mind the lies. And I don’t care how small his audience is, it’s still an audience."