Two players on the Buccaneers roster, Antonio Brown and Mike Edwards, have been suspended without pay for three games following a discovery that they misrepresented their vaccination status.
This news comes almost three weeks after Brown’s former chef, Steven Ruiz, accused Brown of obtaining a fake vaccination card to dodge the NFL’s COVID rules. Brown’s lawyer fought back saying that Brown was vaccinated.
MORE: Antonio Brown accused of using fake COVID-19 vaccination card
Coach Bruce Arians announced at the beginning of September that all Buccaneers players were vaccinated, but with this announcement, that statement is now false. The Buccaneers released a statement following Brown’s chef’s accusation, stating that they had carefully examined all the vaccination cards at the beginning of the season and found “no irregularities.”
So, since Brown did lie about his vaccination status through a fake vaccination card, he will miss the next three games. Brown will be eligible to return in Week 16 when the Buccaneers play the Panthers. With missing three games, Brown stands to forfeit about $183,000 in salary.
MORE: NFL vaccine rules, explained
NFL statement regarding Antonio Brown suspension
The NFL released a statement about Brown and Edwards’ suspension, along with free agent John Franklin III who also misrepresented his vaccination status.
“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. 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,” said the NFL-NFLPA statement released on Thursday afternoon.
The NFL officially suspended #Bucs WR Antonio Brown and Safety Mike Edwards for the next three games for violating NFL-NFLPA COVID protocols.
Free-agent WR John Franklin was also suspended. pic.twitter.com/4wxsJYKFdC
— Dov Kleiman (@NFL_DovKleiman) December 2, 2021
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Buccaneers’ response to Antonio Brown suspension
Additionally, the Buccaneers released a new statement on Thursday in regards to Brown and Edwards’ suspensions.
“We appreciate the League’s timely handling of this matter and recognize the importance of the health and safety protocols that have been established. We will continue to implement all league COVID-19 protocols.”
Coincidentally, both Brown and Edwards are dealing with injuries at this time. On Wednesday, it was announced that Brown was likely to miss two weeks with an ankle injury anyway. Edwards is dealing with a knee injury.