NFL suspends Antonio Brown, two others for misrepresenting vaccine status

The NFL has suspended Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Antonio Brown and two other players for three games following an investigation into claims that they faked their COVID-19 vaccination cards. 

Brown, along with Buccaneers safety Mike Edwards and free agent wide receiver John Franklin III, accepted their punishments and waived their rights to appeal, according to a statement from the league. 

The NFL said it investigated reports that the trio "misrepresented their vaccination status under the NFL-NFLPA COVID-19 Protocols" and "That review supported those allegations and found that the three players violated the protocols."

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Brown, nicknamed “AB,” was the subject of a Tampa Bay Times report last month in which his former personal chef Steven Ruiz claimed the wide receiver tried to obtain a fake COVID-19 vaccination card from him. 

Ruiz later told sports media outlet ESPN that Brown ultimately obtained a fake vaccination card from one of his teammates. 

Before the start of the season, the defending Super Bowl champions announced that all of their players were vaccinated against the virus. 

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In a statement, Brown’s attorney reportedly said his client is currently vaccinated against the virus and will be ready to return to the club by Week 16 of the NFL season. 

"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 the most of this time bu treating his ankle injury," the statement said.