The NFL has suspended former Pittsburgh Steelers and current Tampa Buccaneers wide receiver Antonio Brown for violating the league’s COVID-19 protocols.
In a join statement Thursday, the league and NFLPA announced their findings that Brown was one of three players who misrepresented their vaccination status. Bucs safety Mike Edwards and free agent wideout John Franklin III were the other two.
All three have accepted their punishment and will not appeal.
“The health and safety of players and personnel is our top priority,” the NFL and NFLPA said in their joint statement Thursday. “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.”
Brown’s estranged personal chef accused him of obtaining a fake COVID-19 vaccination card in early November, a claim that sparked the investigation into his inoculation.
According to ESPN’s Dan Graziano, the league determined that Brown brought a fake vaccination card with him when he arrived at training camp, but upon learning that having such a document could land him in hot water, he ultimately decided to get the shot.
Brown’s lawyer Sean Burstyn released a statement as well Thursday confirming that his client has been vaccinated. He also revealed that Brown declined an appeal in order to utilize the three-game suspension to heal his nagging ankle injury.
Brown has caught 29 passes for 418 yards and four touchdowns this season.