The National Football League suspended Tampa Bay Buccaneers star wide receiver Antonio Brown for three games over claims from his former chef that he used a fake vaccine card.
Safety Mike Edwards and free-agent receiver John Franklin III were also suspended from the Buccaneers team for three days for violating the league’s vaccination rules.
The accusations were made by the Los Angeles-based chef Steven Ruiz, who said that Brown owed him $10,000. Ruiz said that Brown obtained the fake vaccination cards after he himself was unable to acquire them for Brown.
Brown denied the accusations, but he is not appealing the punishment. Edwards and Franklin are also accepting the discipline.
“The health and safety of players and personnel is our top priority,” read a joint statement from the NFL and the NFL Players Association.
“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 statement continued. “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 Buccaneers also released a statement on Thursday.
“We appreciate the league’s timely handling of this matter and recognize the importance of the health and safety protocols that have been established,” the statement read. “We will continue to implement all league COVID-19 protocols.”
Sports commentators on ESPN responded by excoriating Brown for the alleged subterfuge.
“Three games is not enough for this,” said Dan Orlavsky. “So, this is stupid, it’s selfish, it’s ignorant, it’s disrespectful!”
“Stupid!” Responded Marcus Spears, a former NFL defensive end. “This is such foolishness! This is so dumb!”
Here’s more about the suspension:
BREAKING NEWS: Antonio Brown suspended 3 games by NFL | NFL Live