TOM Brady has been heavily criticized for "selling immunity vitamins" during the coronavirus pandemic.
The six-time Super Bowl champ posted to Twitter on Monday to promote the "new clinically studied protective immunity blend" called PROTECT – prompting an avalanche of criticism.
The now Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback tweeted on Monday to announce the newest product from TB12sports – VITALFIT™ X TB12™ PROTECT – which can be purchased on the company website for $45.
He wrote: "PROTECT is our new immunity blend supplement created to support a healthy immune system to help you stay strong."
The NFL star also took to Instagram to boast about the product.
He said: "Eating healthy, staying hydrated and being active in combination with the right supplements have helped me stay at my very best.
"Today I’m proud to announce the latest from @tb12sports to help us all stay at our best. Protect is our new immunity blend supplement created to help support a healthy immune system.
Although Brady didn’t mention the coronavirus, he touted the supplement's design for providing "exactly what you need to stay healthy, strong and resilient for whatever comes your way."
However, many social media users were dismayed to see Brady's push of the plant-based product into the coronavirus-stricken economy.
One Twitter user retweeted Brady's post and wrote: "Florida man attempts to stop coronavirus with home remedy."
Another tweeted: "Tom this is so disappointing. The marketing of this product is clearly playing on people’s fears over Covid and a belief that the immune system just needs a boost to recover from it.
"If it’s an athlete recovery supplement say that, don’t play up to people’s fears about Covid."
The product's release comes as the number of coronavirus cases across the United States surpassed 1.5million and killed at least 93,867 people in the country.
"These claims are …. overinflated," another person tweeted, referring to when the NFL accused the Patriots of intentionally under-inflating game balls.
Dr Kate Gregorevic tweeted: "The reason Tom Brady doesn’t have coronavirus isn’t an immune boosting supplement, it’s because he’s obscenely rich and can isolate unlike delivery drivers, cleaners, meat workers, grocery store workers, nurses and doctors. Using this crisis to enrich himself is disgusting."
Despite social media backlash, TB12 CEO John Burns told Yahoo! Sports he supported the company's decision to push the product.
"Now more than ever, it’s important to have daily support for a healthy immune response as our bodies are subject to constant stressors that deplete its resources,” Burns told the news outlet.
“Ingredients like Vitamin C, Zinc and Elderberry in our new Protect blend help improve antibody response, regulate inflammation and eliminate foreign challengers.
Brady founded the brand TB12 with his trainer and business partner Alex Guerrero.
In March, Brady signed a two-year contract with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers after spending the first 20 years of his career with the New England Patriots.
Three days before the signing, Brady announced on social media that he would not return to New England.
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