A lot of fans of rival football teams to the New England Patriots are fond of calling the team, and quarterback Tom Brady, cheaters. One Pittsburgh man did that as part of a TV broadcast — and it cost him his job.
According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Pittsburgh TV station KDKA has fired a newsroom employee after he put the phrase “known cheater” in a chyron under Tom Brady’s name and picture earlier this week.
“While fans are entitled to have personal opinions, we have a journalistic responsibility to provide unbiased reporting,” KDKA said in a statement, the Inquirer reported. “The graphic that appeared Monday violated our news standards. The individual who created the graphic no longer works for KDKA-TV.”
KDKA is an affiliate of CBS, which will broadcast the 2019 Super Bowl on Sunday, when Brady and the Patriots face the Los Angeles Rams.
There is already a GoFundMe campaign established to benefit the fired employee. Given the title “Did This Bring You Joy?” the campaign identifies the former KDKA staffer as a producer named Michael.
The campaign describes the producer as “smart, hard-working, and would go out of his way to help anyone,” although as of noon on Wednesday it had only raised $50 out of a $10,000 goal.
Brady and the Patriots have been accused of cheating on a couple of occasions over the years. In the “Spygate” scandal, which began in 2007, the Patriots were accused of unauthorized videotaping of coaching hand signals. This resulted in a $250,000 fine against the team, a $500,000 fine against coach Bill Belichick, and the team being docked a first-round draft pick.
The “Deflategate” controversy, beginning in 2014, entailed Brady asking for footballs — used in a playoff game that year — to be deflated to a certain level that was against the league’s rules. The NFL ended up fining the Patriots $1 million and docking them two draft picks, while Brady himself was suspended for four games. After a long court battle, Brady served the suspension during the first four games of the 2016 season.
Earlier this month, a 10-year-old boy in Kentucky used a science fair project to “prove” that Brady had in fact cheated, per WPXI. Not to be outdone, a boy of the same age in Tennessee used a science fair project of his own to argue for Brady’s innocence in the “Deflategate” matter, per 12 Up.
The GoFundMe page notes that KDKA, the station that fired the employee, had reported on the science fair project that argued for Brady’s guilt.