It’s been several weeks now that Buccaneers wide receiver Antonio Brown has hit the field due to a foot injury. Now one has to wonder if he’ll see the field again for Tampa Bay.
According to Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times, Brown is accused of obtaining a fake COVID-19 vaccination card to avoid the NFL’s COVID-19 protocols while also expressing concerns over what effects the shots would have on his body.
The accusations come from Brown’s personal chef Steven Ruiz, who said via the report that Brown was showing him fake vaccination cards he had purchased and was initially offered $500 if he can get them for the receiver. It’s unclear in the report whether Ruiz did obtain the vaccination cards for Brown.
The report dives in a bit deeper. Ruiz claims Tom Brady’s personal trainer Alex Guerrero went to Brown’s house the same night to assist Brown with his recovery from knee surgery. Guerrero a picture of Brown’s vaccination card, but may have been unaware the card was fake. Part of the team protocols include trainers like Guerrero submitting the pictures of vaccination cards to the team for verification, which seems to be what happened here.
The NFL and Buccaneers are now investigating the situation. Tampa Bay released a statement Thursday addressing the report.
“After an extensive educational process conducted throughout our organization this past offseason highlighting the benefits of the COVID-19 vaccines, we received completed vaccination cards from all Tampa Bay Buccaneers players and submitted the required information to the NFL through the established process in accordance with league policy. All vaccination cards were reviewed by Buccaneers personnel and no irregularities were observed.”
When the Buccaneers signed Brown during the 2020 season, head coach Bruce Arians hinted towards there being no tolerance for any future issues Brown may find himself in under his watch. We’ll have to see how this all unfolds as the investigation progresses.