NFL Suspends Three Players, Including Antonio Brown, for Lying About Vaccination Status

The National Football League (NFL) suspended three players, including Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Antonio Brown, without pay for the next three games for violating COVID-19 protocols.

The NFL announced on Dec. 2 the suspensions of Brown, Buccaneers safety Mike Edwards and free agent wide receiver John Franklin III following its review into recent allegations that the players “misrepresented their vaccination status.”

“That review supported those allegations and found that the three players violated the protocols,” NFL said in a statement, without providing additional details on the investigation.

On Nov. 18, NFL announced that it was reviewing the allegations that Brown had obtained a fake COVID-19 vaccination card. Brown’s former chef Steven Ruiz made the allegations in a report by Tampa Bay Times.

The suspensions are effective immediately.

“The health and safety of players and personnel is our top priority. 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,” NFL and NFL Players Association (NFLPA) said.

All three players accepted the discipline and waived their right of appeal, NFL said.

Sean Burstyn, Brown’s attorney, maintained that the player was vaccinated.

“Mr. Brown is vaccinated and continues to support the vaccine for any person for whom it is appropriate,” Burstyn said in a statement.

“The NFL made its determination and, instead of going through the drawn out and distracting process of challenging the outcome, Mr. Brown wrapped this up promptly,” Burstyn further said.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers said in a statement that they will continue to implement all NFL-NFLPA COVID-19 protocols.

“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 football team said.

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