Affleck launches epic ‘Deflategate’ rant on new HBO show

In this March 19, 2016, file photo, actor Ben Affleck poses for photos during a press conference to promote the movie "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice" in Mexico City. (AP)

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Ben Affleck has given former ESPN personality Bill Simmons’ new HBO talk show a lively start with a five-minute, expletive-filled rant on “Deflategate.”

During an interview on the Wednesday debut episode of “Any Given Wednesday,” Affleck passionately criticizes the NFL and Commissioner Roger Goodell for suspending New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady for using underinflated balls during a 2015 playoff game. The New England-raised Affleck calls the issue a “ridiculous smear campaign” and questions Goodell’s integrity.

Affleck’s appearance is being heavily discussed on social media. Some say he appeared to be drunk, others call him an angry and passionate Patriots fan.

A representative for Affleck didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Simmons tweeted that the interview was taped in the late morning and Affleck was simply “fired up.”