Thursday’s Mashup: GoFundMe started for Pittsburgh TV station employee fired for Tom Brady graphic

Lucy Burdge
January 31, 2019 - 7:32 am

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-- The Pittsburgh TV station employee fired for putting the “Known Cheater” graphic under Tom Brady has been identified and a GoFundMe has been started for him.

Michael Telek identified himself in a tweet on Wednesday afternoon, confirming he had been fired for the “joke” and saying he wants the money from the GoFundMe to go to charity once he finds a job.

The description on the GoFundMe page now reads, “This went from being about helping Michael Telek. Instead, he refused the money and now wants to help other. He's calling it the GOAT Giveaway. When it's all said and done, Michael's donating the money to charity in Tom Brady's name. So give, and help make a difference.”

Before this, the statement made a fair point about the unjust firing.

"Just days before the the graphic aired, KDKA ran coverage of a 10 year-old-boy who won his science fair competition by 'proving' that Tom Brady is a known cheater (Great work Kid!)," a campaign statement said. "Why is this no problem but a graphic labeling him as the cheater he is such a problem? Tom Brady was suspended 4 games for violating the rules of the game, aka cheating."

“Did this bring you joy?" it also asked.  "Of course it did."

Maybe not in New England, but it was harmless nonetheless.

It is concerning that some of the comments on the page praise Telek for “telling the truth” about Brady being a “known cheater.”

“He didn't deserve to get fired for telling the truth!,” one reads. “But even if he decides to give the total amount raised to charity, we need to show the senior managers at KDKA in Pittsburgh how much support this truth teller has!”

Someone else wrote, “He got fired for speaking the truth. He deserved to get fired for what he did, but it was still awesome! :-D”

Telek opened up about what he did and his subsequent firing.

"It was just like, ‘Here are the two teams in the Super Bowl,’ pretty boring,” he said. “So I wrote the intro about the six rings and then changed it up. I mean, it’s Pittsburgh, we hate the Patriots, we hate Tom Brady, so it was a little wink for fans. Then I kept going on with my day.”

Then things took a turn:

“At 5:05, my boss calls me in and she was like, ‘You need to be here now.’ [My manager> said, ‘What were you thinking, it’s all over social media, people screenshotted it, why did you do that?’ So I explained about Deflategate and everything and basically just told her my thinking. They said, ‘Well, we can’t have that,’ and all this stuff. So anyways, on Monday they said they were going to write me up and said it would be on my record … I thought maybe there was an 8 percent chance I get fired. My manager takes me into the office, and she said that there had been an investigation. She said, ‘Because you did that deliberately, you no longer work at KDKA. Today is your last day.’ So I said, ‘OK,’ and left. I went home and hung out with my friends.”

Kudos to Telek for trying to spice up the broadcast. This should be a suspendable offense at most.

-- SportsCenter fell for a fake comment from LeBron James to Anthony Davis on Tuesday night when ESPN aired the photoshopped image as if it was authentic. 

ESPN aired a graphic of the comment, showing an Instagram account under LeBron James' name had commented, "SHEESH that sweater is (fire). Ur killin it bro anyway cya laker oops that was a typo I meant cya LAter #striveforgreatness," on one of Davis' pictures. 

The mastermind behind this was @sreekyshooter, who is well-known on NBA Twitter.

And ESPN aired it as if it was real. 

ESPN acknowledged the error on the broadcast and Neil Everett called it the work of "some kid with way too much time on his hands. You got me dude!"

QUOTE OF THE DAY:  “You can take some serious hits. To tell you the truth, just try and imagine getting hit all the time and trying to be where you want to be every day in life. It's tough, it's difficult. To take hits to the thigh, take hits to your head. Abusing your body isn't what your brain wants. When your body is abused, it can bring down your mood. You've got to be able to deal with that, too, throughout the season. You gotta be able to deal with that in the games.” -- Rob Gronkowski, on the serious hits he and other players take in football