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KDKA fires employee for Tom Brady ‘Known Cheater’ TV graphic

Jamie Martines
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New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) celebrates after defeating the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC Championship NFL football game, Sunday, Jan. 20, 2019, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

A KDKA employee has been fired over a graphic involving New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady.

The caption, which ran during the CBS affiliate’s 4 p.m. broadcast Monday, identified Brady as “known cheater” instead of “Patriots quarterback.”

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

KDKA officials did not immediately respond to a request for comment from the Tribune-Review.

Brady was suspended by the NFL for four games after the league concluded the Patriots intentionally underinflated footballs used in the AFC Championship Game on Jan. 18, 2015. He spent 18 months trying to clear his name, but ended the legal battle after the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected his request for a new hearing on the suspension in July 2016.

Andrew Conte, director of the Center for Media Innovation at Point Park University, said he hates to see anyone lose their job. But he understood KDKA’s decision.

“In this age when partisan feeling seems to bleed into all areas of culture – not just sports but also politics, religion and more – it’s smart for the station to take a firm stand against bias, even in something as trivial as football,” said Conte, a former Tribune-Review investigative reporter. “Newsroom leaders have to ensure professionalism. If a content creator decides to insert a joke into light news coverage, it raises questions about how that person will make critical decisions about more serious matters.”

Jamie Martines is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Jamie at 724-850-2867, [email protected] or via Twitter @Jamie_Martines.