Antonio Brown, a wide receiver for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, has officially been handed a suspension for three games by the NFL for supposedly violating COVID protocols.
Brown, along with free-agent wide receiver John Franklin III and backup safety Mike Edwards, were said to have “misrepresented his vaccination status.”
“The health and safety of players and personnel is our top priority,” a joint NFL-NFLPA statement went on to ready. read. “The protocols were jointly developed working with our respective experts to ensure that we are practicing and playing football as safely as possible during the ongoing pandemic. The NFL-NFLPA jointly reinforce their commitment and further emphasize the importance of strict adherence to the protocols to protect the well-being of everyone associated with the NFL.”
The suspension was handed down after the NFL conducted an investigation which found that Brown used a fake vaccination card, which all started from a a Tampa Bay Times report from back in November.
According to the Times, Brown was able to obtain a fake vaccination card in July, after his former live-in-chef was unable to acquire one for Brown and his girlfriend.
As reported by ESPN, Brown received the COVID vaccine shortly after arriving at Bucs training camp, after he was informed that his fake vaccine card could get him in trouble.
“Mr. Brown is vaccinated and continues to support the vaccine for any person for whom it is appropriate,” \Sean Burstyn, Brown’s attorney, remarked in a statement that was obtained by Ian Rapoport who works for the NFL Network. “The NFL made its determination and, instead of going through the drawn out and distracting process of challenging the outcome, Mr. Brown wrapped this up promptly and he will make this most of this time by treating his ankle injury. Mr. Brown will be motivated, well rested, and in the best shape of his life when he returns in [W]eek 16.”
Brown has been out since week seven as he attempts to recover from an ankle injury, and was expected to miss Tampa Bay’s next two games before the suspension was handed down. Brown will not be paid during the three-game suspension.
“We appreciate the League’s timely handling of this matter and recognize the importance of the health and safety protocols that have been established. We will continue to implement all league COVID-19 protocols,” the Buccaneers went on to say in their response to the league in a statement Thursday.
Brown has played five games thus far this season, nabbing 29 catches for 418 yards and scoring four touchdowns.