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TV Station Fires Producer Over Shot at Tom Brady

An on-screen graphic labeled quarterback a 'known cheater'
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 30, 2019 4:53 PM CST
Tom Brady speaks to reporters Tuesday in Atlanta, where the Super Bowl will be played Sunday.   (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

(Newser) – A display of anti-Patriots bitterness in Steelers country cost a TV producer his job this week, when an on-screen graphic labeled quarterback Tom Brady a “known cheater.” Michael Telek said he intended to inject a little humor at the end of a Pittsburgh news broadcast Monday, USA Today reports, but his bosses didn’t find it funny. The graphic was a reference to the "Deflategate" scandal, in which New England was accused of letting air out of game balls to gain an advantage over the Indianapolis Colts in a 2015 playoff game. The Patriots won that game, but the league later suspended Brady for four games over it. Brady and the Patriots play the Los Angeles Rams in the Super Bowl on Sunday in Atlanta. The Steelers finished 9-6-1 this season, out of the playoffs.

Telek, 27, said that he didn’t think the accusation was a serious one, and that "when it's something soft and light, we can be soft and light with it." But KDKA said in a statement, "While fans are entitled to have personal opinions, we have a journalistic responsibility to provide unbiased reporting." A friend set up a GoFundMe account for Telek that originally started off, "Did this bring you joy? Of course it did." (The intro has since been edited.) Telek plans to donate the money to a Pittsburgh charity in Brady's name, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports. Telek said that he expects the uproar to die down, and that he will move on by concentrating on finding a new job. "It's a 24-hour news cycle," the producer told USA Today. "By tomorrow, everyone's going to forget about it." (Read more Super Bowl stories.)

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