We have been able confirm that yesterday (Monday, November 7th), Anthem Sports and Entertainment CEO Leonard Asper held a “town hall” meeting in the company offices where a couple items related to TNA came up. One of them relates to a warning he gave employees to close the meeting: That they need to remember that there are journalists who work for the company and cover beats that would include the company, so be careful talking to them about internal business matters. Anthem is, as previously noted here, the parent company of The Fight Network, which covers professional wrestling.
“We’ve got a lot of journalists in this organization, we’ve got and a lot of stuff going on that we don’t want public,” Asper explained. He said that the issue of who can tell who what has “come up over the TNA issue” because “there’s a lot of stuff we’re not saying, and some of you might know stuff.” He then made it clear that anyone with knowledge of information that shouldn’t go public, “you’ve got to remember that you’re talking to someone who is a journalist. They’ve got a responsibility. They’ve got an independence, and we want to protect that.”
In other words, he told staff to be “a little careful” when talking to co-workers who are journalists. “If you’re talking to somebody who’s in that role, don’t compromise them. Either say it’s off the record, and ask if they’re OK with receiving information off the record, or just don’t burden them with secrets that, from a moral perspective, from an ethics perspective, that they have to reveal.” Asper also added that “people are starting to watch us more” because of the new deals like TNA, making the advice more important.
Analysis: This was basically a crash course for employees not familiar with dealing with the media. Being a relatively under the radar company means that there probably would be a lot of employees who fit that bill until the wrestling media started scrutinizing their employers a few weeks ago. Still, Fight Network’s news operation primarily covers MMA, so it’s interesting to see Asper single out TNA as the catalyst for his lesson.