He did not hold back in his criticism.
“It made me carsick,” Miller told Deitsch. “This is a guy who had worked there for nine years. He bled ESPN. He’s got four young boys. He’s got a moral compass despite the fact that some people now are saying otherwise.”
Virk’s termination, which stemmed from suspected leaking of sensitive information, was first reported by Andrew Marchand of the New York Post. Marchand subsequently reported the leak in question pertained to an Awful Announcing story on Baseball Tonight.
Miller took issue with the obvious awkwardness of ESPN firing a guy for allegedly leaking information, then someone on the inside doing the very same thing in order to get the Virk firing story into the public.
“How the f–k did that get leaked?” Miller asked. “We’re talking about a situation where somebody is fired — fired, not suspended, fired — for talking on background, which basically is confirming something, and we’ll get into that later, and then somebody from inside ESPN leaks it to the press. And so it’s not even like this guy, this loyal employee, doesn’t even get the graceful exit.
“No, no, no, no. Somebody inside, has to, in the most pernicious, vituperative, amoral way take this guy’s professional career and put a bullet hole through it.”
Virk’s stunning firing may be an outlying event. Or it could be the first step in a determined effort to cut the leaking within ESPN. It’s unclear how effective that effort can be if — and this is speculative — iron-fisted punishment doesn’t sit well with employees in Bristol and beyond.
Miller also pointed out the perceived imbalance when it comes to crime and punishment at ESPN, something that those in the know have talked about for years. Finding consistency in discipline is difficult, if not impossible, to do.
One wonders if, in time, Virk’s firing will be seen a flashpoint for the culture of Worldwide Leader or recede into the background. Hearing Miller’s unusual passion and fury makes me believe that it could be the former.