Three players from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Antonio Brown, Mike Edwards, and free agent John Franklin III will all be suspended for three games for misrepresenting their COVID-19 status, CBS Sports reported.
The NFL announced the suspensions noting that Brown, Edwards, and Franklin violated the league’s COVID-19 protocols.
“The health and safety of players and personnel is our top priority,” the NFL and NFLPA said in a joint statement. “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.”
According to ESPN, over the summer, Brown’s former chef, Steven Ruiz said that he was asked by the wide receiver to obtain fake COVID-19 vaccination cards. When Ruiz informed Brown that he couldn’t secure the fake cards, a few weeks later he showed him the ones that he already purchased for himself and his girlfriend Cydney Moreau.
Ruiz also said that Brown had obtained his fake vaccine card from a Buccaneers teammate but he didn’t name the other player.
Sean Burstyn, Brown’s attorney, recently denied that Brown possessed a fake vaccine card.
Responding to the suspension, the Buccaneers issued a statement.
“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,” t
Both Brown and Edwards’ suspensions are without pay and they will be eligible to return to action when the Buccaneers play the Carolina Panthers on Dec. 26.