A local Pittsburgh station called the Patriots quarterback a "known cheater" ahead of the Super Bowl on Feb. 3

By Helen Murphy
January 30, 2019 10:37 AM

A local Pittsburgh TV station is going viral for captioning footage of New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady with “Known Cheater.”

Pittsburgh CBS affiliate KDKA aired the cheeky caption during Super Bowl LIII Media Night before the moment was caught and posted on Twitter by eagle-eyed fans.

Tweeters responded to the image, writing messages both in support of Brady and siding with KDKA. “When you are doing something amazing there are always jealous people around,” one commenter wrote. Another added, “Absolutely perfect!!!”

The employee responsible for the chyron has since been fired, the station told Sports Illustrated in a statement.

“While fans are entitled to have personal opinions, we have a journalistic responsibility to provide unbiased reporting,” KDKA said in a statement to Sports Illustrated. “The graphic that appeared Monday violated our news standards. The individual who created the graphic no longer works for KDKA-TV.”

A representative for The Patriots did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.

“Known cheater” appears to be a reference to Brady’s involvement in the 2015 Deflategate scandal.

After the New England Patriots’ Super Bowl victory over the Indianapolis Colts in 2015, the team was accused of deflating their footballs and making them easier to grip. Though Brady, 41, denied involvement and fought a legal battle against the league, the NFL suspended him for four games the following season.

Deflategate was in headlines again recently when a 10-year-old boy named Ace Davis in Kentucky titled his school science fair project “Is Tom Brady a cheater?”

“Problem: The national football league alleged that Tom Brady ordered the deliberate deflating of footballs to gain an advantage in the 2015 AFC Championship game versus the Indianapolis Colts,” read the presentation.

Logan Bowles/AP


Ace’s hypothesis was, “Through various testing measures of different weights (PSI – pounds per square inch) of footballs, we should find that under inflated footballs provide a competitive advantage in a game.”

Under research, Ace pasted the official NFL regulations for properly inflated footballs for game usage.

His ultimate conclusion? “The Patriots were found guilty of doctoring football [sic], thus losing $1,000,000 and future draft picks. Tom Brady is indeed a cheater.”

The Patriots will play the Los Angeles Rams at the 53rd Super Bowl, which airs on Feb. 3.