Yesterday, Andrew Marchand of the New York Post broke the story that Adnan Virk of ESPN had been fired over suspected leaking of confidential information. Today, Marchand followed up by confirming that the leak of information in question was related to an Awful Announcing story on Baseball Tonight and Sunday Night Baseball, written by Ben Koo.
ESPN had a conference call about “Sunday Night Baseball” that the network believes Virk revealed to Awful Announcing. Sources said the “premeditated nature” of the outreach alarmed ESPN.
When the conference call took place, Virk was not on the whole time, and the specific information about the future schedule for baseball was actually not discussed.
Virk followed up right after the call with Phil Orlins, the senior coordinating producer, asking specific questions about the direction of baseball at ESPN in regards to its scheduling. The questions matched what appeared later that day in the Awful Announcing article.
Virk, according to sources, told Awful Announcing reporter Ben Koo about the information shortly after.
“I cannot comment on the sourcing of any particular story we’ve done,” Koo said.
Marchand also said Adnan Virk is “pursuing legal action” against ESPN in light of the firing, and is receiving no severance. He reportedly had a four-year deal worth seven figures.
This feels like Virk is being made an example, and it feels like an overreaction from ESPN based on the nature of the story. All companies, even ESPN, hate internal leaks, even if they also profit from them with many of their employees obtaining nuggets from the leagues and teams they cover through “team sources.” The companies themselves leak information all the time, for a variety of reasons. Everyone doesn’t leak to everyone, but there’s a good chance everyone at ESPN is leaking to someone. That could be for a variety of reasons, from disgruntled employee behavior to helping maintain positive relationships in the media and providing scoops, to any number of other motivations. Marchand’s reports, ironically, are coming from leaks somewhere within ESPN about the actions against Virk. There’s also a pretty good chance that those making the decisions in this case are throwing stones from glass houses.