Bucs’ Antonio Brown suspended after ‘fake’ COVID vaccine card scandal

WHAT’S BEING CLAIMED:

  • NFL has suspended Bucs’ Antonio Brown for three games after being accused of using fake COVID-19 vaccine card.
  • Brown is among three player suspended for “misrepresenting” their vaccination status.
  • Last month, Brown’s former chef revealed that the wide receiver had obtained a fake COVID-19 card before the Buccaneer’s training camp began.

The NFL announced Thursday that Bucs’ Antonio Brown was suspended after ‘misrepresenting’ his COVID-19 vaccination status.

The wide receiver is among three NFL players to be suspended without pay for the next three games. Tampa Bay Buccaneers cornerback Mike Edwards and free-agent cornerback John Franklin III were also suspended.  

The three players waived their right to appeal the suspensions. Brown and Edwards will serve their bans immediately. Franklin will serve his suspension if he’s picked up by an NFL team.

In a brief statement issued by The Buccaneers on Thursday, the team thanked the league for its “timely handling” of the matter.

Bucs coach Bruce Arians said in September that his team was 100 percent vaccinated against COVID-19. Arians stood by that claim when asked about Brown’s vaccination status last month. He said the team did its “due diligence” when looking into the matter. The Buccaneers released a statement at the time, saying the team reviewed all COVID-19 vaccination cards and “no irregularities were observed.”

The NFL and the players union released a joint statement Thursday affirming player safety is the No. 1 priority around the league.

The league and union stood by the NFL’s health and safety protocols, which were jointly developed by the NFL and NFLPA.

In November, Brown’s vaccination status came under fire when his former chef Steven Ruiz told The Tampa Bay Times that Brown paid for counterfeit COVID-19 vaccine cards before training camp. Ruiz provided text messages in which Brown’s girlfriend allegedly offered to pay Ruiz $500 for a counterfeit vaccine card for Brown. Ruiz said he was not able to provide a fake card to Brown.

The NFL did not confirm that story but said that a “review supported those allegations and found that the three players violated the protocols.”

Brown’s lawyer released a statement Thursday claiming Brown is vaccinated and “continues to support the vaccine for any person for whom it is appropriate.” 

Source: Yahoo! Sports

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