Brady took the opportunity to promote his TB12 Sports company’s new multivitamin supplement during the pandemic, using words that have become synonymous with advice from doctors during the crisis to advocate the blend.

Selling a 30-day supply of 60 tablets for $45, the quarterback, whose new contract with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers guarantees him $50 million, said he was “really proud” to announce a product that would “help us all stay at our best”.

“Protect is our new immunity blend supplement created to help support a healthy immune system,” he explained to his Instagram following of more than 7.6 million. “This product was designed to provide exactly what you need to stay healthy, strong and resilient for whatever comes your way.”

Fans criticized the commercially savvy quarterback and rowed with each other following his questionably timed advertising of his latest product.

“You should be ashamed of yourself for trying to profit from people’s pandemic anxieties,” wrote one, calling the supplement “a waste of money”, while others said they were “embarrassed” for Brady and labeled him “disgusting” and “irresponsible”.

When a sports radio host asked a registered dietitian for her views on the blend, she replied: “Healthy price tag on an unnecessary supplement. That supplement is expensive and a pile of crap.”

One critic asked Brady: “So you’ve turned into a snake oil salesman? Surely you don’t want to earn an extra $25 million by saying it fights COVID-19 symptoms?”

A respondent dedicated to targeting fake sports news was more supportive, telling one of the protestors: “Oh damn, the self-righteous brigade is in full force.

“TB12 is not trying to sell you the cure for COVID. It’s meant to complement a workout or daily routine. Use some common sense, people.”

Medical toxicologist Ryan Marino told Forbes, who ranked Brady 81st among the world’s best paid athletes last year, that the timing of the release raised “a number of concerns”.

“Releasing something with specific mention and marketing about the immune system and antiviral properties in a global viral pandemic…it’s definitely suspect to me,” he added. “You’re basically p****** your money away.”

Brady’s vast range of endorsements range from luxury car manufacturer Aston Martin and high-end watch company Tag Heuer to beer company Sam Adams and sportswear specialists Under Armour. He also once backed a “neuroprotective” drink that claimed to protect athletes from concussion.

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