Antonio Brown and Tampa Bay Buccaneers teammate Mike Edwards have each been suspended three games for lying about their vaccination status, according to NFL insider Ian Rapoport. Neither player will appeal.
Brown’s former chef Steven Ruiz alleged that Brown had secured a fake vaccination card before the start of the season to get around the NFL’s Covid protocols, according to a report in the Tampa Bay Times. Brown’s girlfriend reportedly offered Ruiz $500 to get the card for Brown, but he declined. Ruiz made the allegations after saying Brown owes him $10K for his services.
Ruiz went into greater detail with ESPN about how Brown eventually got his fake card:
“He got them from another player who was selling them,” said Ruiz, who declined to name the player. “That player came over to the house multiple times. He had to get another copy of Cyd’s vaccine card because they got her birthday wrong on the first one.”
Forging a vaccine card is a federal crime. Free agent John Franklin III was the third player suspended for misrepresenting his vaccine status.
Brown has been sidelined for the Bucs with an ankle injury and is expected to miss a couple more weeks. Brown was playing excellent football before the injury, amassing 418 yards and four touchdowns in six games before the injury. Suspension time and injury time can overlap, but now Brown won’t get paid for his missed games.
Here’s a joint statement from the NFL and NFLPA:
NFL-NFLPA joint statement: pic.twitter.com/XOw1GuawNM— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) December 2, 2021
Brown would be eligible to return Dec. 26 against the Carolina Panthers.