The man who broke the original story of Harry Thomas' fixed bouts 15 years ago was Arch Ward, sports editor of the Chicago Tribune, nationally known for the development of amateur boxing's Golden Gloves tournament. Ward described the events revealed by Thomas as "one of the biggest swindles in the history of boxing."
Sports Editor Ward spent two months investigating Thomas before he printed the story, convinced then that the boxer was telling the truth. "The Tribune's investigation of Thomas' ring career," he reported, "uncovered no irregularities or indications of dishonesty until his fight with Schmeling." And as to allegations that Thomas was "punch drunk," Ward told Illinois' Assistant Attorney General Edwin T. Breen: "I've seen 250,000 fighters [sic] in the last 10 years and if Thomas is punch drunk, so are all of them."
When the Illinois State Athletic Commission wound up eight months of sporadic hearings with a no-decision verdict that the Tribune's revelations were "not substantiated," Ward was understandably bitter. He pointed out that the Tribune had not retracted a word of its story. "It isn't necessary to mention," he wrote, "that a newspaper must know what it is printing when it presents a piece like that and makes it stick."
There was no mention of Norris in the Tribune disclosures. At that time Ward, presumably for excellent legal reasons, refused to identify another person described as a principal in the case. He would name this party, Ward said at the time, only before a grand jury or in a court of law.