January 22, 2022

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NFL Suspends Antonio Brown Over Faux Vaccination Card

NFL Suspends Antonio Brown Over Fake Vaccination Card

The N.F.L. on Thursday suspended Antonio Brown, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers star receiver, and defensive again Mike Edwards with out pay for the subsequent three video games for misrepresenting their Covid-19 vaccination standing, an egregious violation of protocols that have been collectively agreed upon by the league and its gamers’ union.

A assessment carried out by the N.F.L. and the N.F.L. Gamers Affiliation concluded that Brown and two different gamers, Edwards and the free-agent receiver John Franklin III, had acquired faux vaccination playing cards. Franklin should sit out three video games if he’s signed by a staff. The Tampa Bay Times on Nov. 18 first reported that Brown had obtained the cardboard, prompting the assessment.

“The well being and security of gamers and personnel is our high precedence,” the league and the gamers’ union stated in an announcement collectively. “The protocols have been collectively developed working with our respective consultants to make sure that we’re working towards and enjoying soccer as safely as attainable in the course of the ongoing pandemic. The N.F.L.-N.F.L.P.A. collectively reinforce their dedication and additional emphasize the significance of strict adherence to the protocols to guard the well-being of everybody related to the N.F.L.”

Brown’s lawyer, Sean Burstyn, stated in a phone interview on Nov. 18 that Brown promised him that evening that he was vaccinated and that he had gotten a minimum of one shot at a drive-through website. Burstyn stated then that he neither requested Brown nor knew when he bought his first dose.

In an announcement Thursday, Burstyn once more stated that Brown was vaccinated “and continues to help the vaccine for any individual for whom it’s applicable.”

The N.F.L. wouldn’t publicly affirm the gamers’ vaccination statuses or whether or not the league was attempting to find out who had been uncovered to the gamers earlier than it was publicly identified that they’d faux vaccination playing cards.

The N.F.L. has responded to breaches of Covid protocol during the last two seasons by fining the offending gamers, coaches and groups. Simply final month, it docked the league’s reigning most dear participant, Inexperienced Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers, $14,500 for not carrying masks inside his staff’s headquarters and different amenities or throughout his information conferences, as is remitted for unvaccinated gamers.

Though Rodgers misled reporters who requested if he was vaccinated, the Packers have been conscious of his unvaccinated standing and have been fined $300,000 for not monitoring his conduct higher.

However the N.F.L. decided that buying faux vaccination playing cards — a prison offense — merited the strictest punishment it has but to mete out for a person violation.

The league has not mandated Covid-19 vaccines, but it surely has incentivized gamers and personnel to get them by instituting harsh penalties, together with the forfeiture of video games, for groups whose unvaccinated employees members expose others to outbreaks.

There are additionally completely different on a regular basis protocols for gamers primarily based on their vaccination standing. Unvaccinated gamers should, amongst different issues, endure every day testing, put on masks inside groups’ coaching amenities and journey individually from vaccinated teammates.

Brown, who has not performed since Oct. 14 due to an ankle damage, examined optimistic for the coronavirus in September and missed the staff’s Week 3 sport on the Los Angeles Rams.

On Nov. 18, citing Brown’s former live-in chef, Steven Ruiz, the Tampa Bay Instances reported that Brown had acquired a faux vaccination card. The Tampa Bay Instances stated that Brown’s girlfriend had requested Ruiz over textual content message on July 2 if he may acquire a faux card for Brown, who was prepared to pay $500 for it. Brown, the newspaper reported, owed Ruiz $10,000.

The Buccaneers stated in an announcement Nov. 18 that they’d reviewed all playing cards however that no irregularities had been “noticed.” The subsequent day, Buccaneers Coach Bruce Arians stated that the group did its “due diligence” and that it had no cause “in any way” to imagine that Brown had submitted a faux card.

On Thursday, the staff stated it acknowledged “the significance of the well being and security protocols which have been established” and vowed to proceed to implement them.

Particular person groups are answerable for corroborating the vaccination standing of their gamers and personnel. They have been reminded of that duty earlier than coaching camps started, in a video convention on July 22 after they have been additionally ordered to scrutinize playing cards for potential forgeries.

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