A TV producer in Pittsburgh has been fired for labelling New England quarter-back Tom Brady a “Known Cheater” during a news broadcast.
Mike Telek, 27, told US media that the stunt, in which the words appeared at the bottom of the screen, was just meant as “a little wink for fans”.
“The graphic that appeared Monday violated our news standards,” KDKA-TV said in statement about the firing.
A charity to help the jobless producer has raised over $1,000 (£760).
The New England Patriots will face off against the Los Angeles Rams in Sunday’s Super Bowl championship in Atlanta.
The game will be Brady’s ninth Super Bowl appearance.
The “Known Cheater” label stems from the 2015 controversy that came to be known as “Deflategate”, in which the New England Patriots were accused of secretly deflating footballs to win a playoff game against the Indianapolis Colts.
Brady, 41, was by suspended by the National Football League (NFL) for four games and fined $1m for his role in the scandal.
“While fans are entitled to have personal opinions, we have a journalistic responsibility to provide unbiased reporting,” the CBS-affiliate said after a screenshot of the network’s aston went viral.
“The graphic that appeared Monday violated our news standards. The individual who created the graphic no longer works for KDKA-TV.”In an interview with Deadspin on Monday, Mr Telek said: “I mean, it’s Pittsburgh, we hate the Patriots, we hate Tom Brady, so it was a little wink for fans.”He told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette after his firing that “never in my wildest dreams did I think this would happen”.
“Who knew people take screen shots like that?” he said, adding that he plans to attend a job fair on Saturday at a local casino, and will place a Super Bowl bet on the Patriots while he’s there.
“Of course. Brady is the greatest of all time.”
According to a GoFundMe page set up by Mr Telek’s friends, he is refusing to take the donations himself. He is hoping to raise $10,000 and donate the sum to a charity in Brady’s name.