Antonio Brown is in the news again, and once more for negative reasons. The short-time New England Patriots wide receiver, who is currently playing for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, is among three players suspended by the NFL for “misrepresent[ing] their vaccination status” under the league’s Covid-19 guidelines.
The suspension comes after a report that Brown had obtained a fake Covid-19 vaccination card in an attempt to circumvent protocols. At the time, the Buccaneers defended the 33-year-old as well as their own execution of Coronavirus-related matters.
The joint review by the league and the players association, however, found Brown guilty of violating the guidelines agreed upon:
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.
Brown will now have to sit out three games, and he is not the only player punished by the NFL. One of his teammates, safety Mike Edwards, has also been suspended, as has free agent wide receiver and fellow former Buccaneer John Franklin III.
The punishment is noteworthy for multiple reasons. Not only will the Buccaneers have to answer questions about defending Brown, the league also decided to discipline the three while letting Aaron Rodgers — the Green Bay Packers quarterback openly violated protocols by not wearing a mask indoors while unvaccinated — off the hook.