‘Known cheater’: TV producer fired for cheeky jab at Tom Brady in Super Bowl graphic
TV producer Mike Telek has responded after being fired by Pittsburgh TV station KDKA for airing a graphic calling the New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady a "known cheater."
Pittsburgh's CBS affiliate station KDKA-TV made headlines when they aired the graphic during a Super Bowl preview spot on their 4 o'clock news show.
The producer responsible for the graphic 27-year-old Mike Telek, later explained that it was intended as "a little wink for fans."
And Pittsburgh sports fans took to social media to show their support and amusement at the surprise caption on the graphic, with one fan saying: "Man do I love my city!"
But his station took a different view. KDKA-TV fired Telek for his indiscretion and issued a statement saying: "While fans are entitled to have personal opinions, we have a journalistic responsibility to provide unbiased reporting.
"The graphic that appeared Monday violated our news standards. The individual who created the graphic no longer works for KDKA-TV."
The graphic was a reference to the 2015 controversy involving Brady and the Patriots during a playoff game with the Indianapolis Colts, where New England was accused of deflating footballs in order to gain an advantage over their rivals.
The alleged incident saw Brady suspended for four games and fined $1 million for his involvement.
Telek said he was shocked to lose his job over the incident, telling the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: "Never in my wildest dreams did I think this would happen."
He also told US site Deadspin that his dig at Brady was intended as a light-hearted nod towards the fans in the station's host city, Pittsburgh, who are long and storied rivals of the Patriots.
"I mean, it's Pittsburgh," he said.
"We hate the Patriots. We hate Tom Brady. So it was a little wink for fans."
But he did admit that he was going to place a bet on the Patriots and their five-time Super Bowl-winning quarterback to claim Super Bowl LIII glory against the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday.
"Of course," he said.
"Brady is the greatest of all time."
A GoFundMe page was set up by Telek's friends to help him after losing his job but he is refusing to accept donations.
Instead, he plans to donate the sum raised by the page to a charity in Brady's name.