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#pounditThursday, December 9, 2021

Report: Adnan Virk leaked ‘Baseball Tonight’ information to Awful Announcing

Adnan Virk ESPN

Adnan Virk is no longer an employee of ESPN after reportedly being fired and escorted off the Bristol campus on Friday because he was suspected of leaking information to the media. News of Virk’s firing was reported by the New York Post’s Andrew Marchand on Sunday, though it was missing one key piece: what Virk supposedly leaked. A day later, Marchand shared that information.

According to Marchand, ESPN believes Virk leaked confidential information about the future of “Baseball Tonight” to the website Awful Announcing.

Awful Announcing’s Ben Koo wrote a story published on Monday, Jan. 28 that said “Baseball Tonight” would not be returning as a daily studio show on ESPN. ESPN had been giving consideration to bringing the once-popular daily baseball show back on air nightly but decided against it.

Koo reported there were two reasons for the decision. One is that MLB is letting ESPN slide on the contractual need for a certain amount of studio shows in exchange for “Sunday Night Baseball” being moved up an hour earlier to 7:00 pm ET start times to ease the burden of teams traveling after those games. The other reason is ESPN decided that they wouldn’t have enough of an audience for it and if they put the programming on ESPN2, it wouldn’t add new viewers but rather potentially just take away from “SportsCenter” viewership.

Marchand’s report explains what led ESPN to believe Virk was leaking information to Awful Announcing. They say ESPN held a conference call to discuss “Baseball Tonight” and that Virk was not on for the entire call. Later he called a senior producer to discuss the future of baseball on ESPN, and the information/questions in the Awful Announcing story matched up with what he asked the producer.

ESPN then investigated Virk, feeling he had regularly been talking with other media outlets about company information. They gave him chances to tell the truth and felt he wasn’t forthcoming, and they ultimately decided to fire him.

Virk’s side feels like the punishment did not fit the crime, while ESPN believes all company employees go through training where they are taught it’s against policy to leak confidential information.

Virk had just signed a new four-year deal with ESPN worth seven figures, according to the report.

Why would he leak confidential information to Awful Announcing? Virk has not commented, but some on-air personalities might believe they would receive favorable (or at least avoid negative) coverage from the website by sharing privileged information. Avoiding negative coverage/receiving positive coverage from a media critic site would help with an on-air personality’s public perception, and ultimately their job security.

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