Antonio Brown accused of obtaining fake Covid vaccination card, prompting NFL review

The NFL stated it’s trying right into a report that Tampa Bay Buccaneers extensive receiver Antonio Brown allegedly obtained a pretend Covid-19 vaccination card to evade league protocols.

“We’re conscious of the report and have been involved with the membership,” an NFL spokesperson stated. “We are going to evaluation the matter.” 

Steven Ruiz, the previous live-in chef for the NFL participant, made the claims in an interview with the Tampa Bay Instances

Ruiz instructed the newspaper he was talking out after falling out with Brown, claiming the athlete owes him $10,000 after efforts to succeed in a settlement along with his former boss have been unsuccessful.

Based on Ruiz, Brown’s girlfriend, mannequin Cydney Moreau, texted him Ruiz on July 2 saying, “Are you able to get the COVID playing cards?” Ruiz responded, “I can attempt.”

“JNJ shot. Ab stated he would offer you $500,” Moreau allegedly wrote again, with “Ab” referring to Brown and “JNJ “referring to a vaccine card exhibiting proof of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

A screenshot of their alleged textual content alternate was shared with the newspaper.

In the long run, Ruiz was unable to obtain the playing cards. A number of weeks later, Brown allegedly confirmed him pretend vaccination playing cards that he stated he bought for himself and his girlfriend, Ruiz instructed the Instances. 

The playing cards have been sitting on Brown’s eating room desk simply days earlier than the beginning of the Buccaneers coaching camp, he added. 

That identical night time Alex Guerrero, a private coach, arrived to Brown’s house to assist him get better from a knee surgical procedure and he took a photograph of Brown’s vaccination card, in line with Ruiz. The photograph was an effort to assist the staff doc a listing of vaccinated gamers. Ruiz stated he believed Guerrero was unaware the cardboard was pretend, the newspaper reported.

Efforts to succeed in Moreau have been unsuccessful Friday, however she instructed the Instances that she didn’t know Ruiz.

Brown’s legal professional, Sean Burstyn, stated in an announcement that his shopper is vaccinated.

“Mr. Brown confirmed to me that he was vaccinated and, if a booster finally turns into advisable, he’ll be pleased to air it dwell on TV,” he stated. “He’s pleased to show this into a possibility to advocate for the security of vaccines, and finds it a bit complicated that the supply of this story would admit to trying to obtain and resell pretend vaccination playing cards.”

The NFL stated that groups are answerable for verifying personnel and participant vaccination standing. Any try by staff personnel or gamers to make use of a pretend card can be reviewed beneath the private conduct coverage and should topic them to self-discipline. It’s additionally a federal prison offense to make use of a pretend Covid-19 card as a result of falsifying a authorities seal, which seems on the playing cards, is against the law.  

The Buccaneers stated in a assertion following the report that every one staff gamers submitted accomplished vaccine playing cards.

“After an in depth academic course of performed all through our group this previous offseason highlighting the advantages of the Covid-19 vaccines, we acquired accomplished vaccination playing cards from all Tampa Bay Buccaneers gamers and submitted the required info to the NFL although the established course of in accordance with league coverage,” the staff stated.

“All vaccination playing cards have been reviewed by Buccaneers personnel and no irregularities have been noticed.”

Brown examined optimistic for Covid 4 days earlier than the Week 3 recreation towards the Los Angeles Rams on Sept. 26. He was activated the next week, the NFL introduced on the time.

Below present guidelines, gamers who’re vaccinated can return to work if they’re asymptomatic and move two Covid-19 assessments 24 hours aside. Brown as a substitute was out for a 10-day ready interval that’s imposed on gamers who will not be totally vaccinated, the Instances reported.

Whereas vaccinations towards Covid-19 will not be required for gamers, they’re topic to guidelines together with every day testing, masks carrying and restricted journey.

The questioning of Brown’s vaccination standing comes after the Inexperienced Bay Packers staff was fined $300,000 for Covid protocol violations. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers and extensive receiver Allen Lazard have been additionally fined $14,650 every for attending a Halloween celebration whereas unvaccinated.

Brown is not any stranger to controversy.

In January 2020, he was accused of attacking a truck driver in entrance of his Hollywood, Florida, house. He was charged with housebreaking with assault, housebreaking conveyance and prison mischief in that case. Brown pleaded no contest to the costs and was sentenced to 2 years of probation in a cope with Broward County prosecutors. He was additionally ordered to endure a psychological analysis and attend an anger administration course.

Brown was additionally accused of sexual assault by his former coach Britney Taylor in a lawsuit filed in 2019. Brown denied the allegations and countersued Taylor earlier than a settlement was reached in April.