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Tampa Bay Buccaneers v Philadelphia Eagles

Source: Tim Nwachukwu / Getty

Wide receiver Antonio Brown is in the hot seat once again as he and two other players have been suspended by the National Football League for violating COVID-19 protocols by lying about their vaccination status.

In a press release on Thursday (December 2nd), the league announced that Brown, along with Tampa Bay Buccaneers teammate and safety Mike Edwards and free-agent wide receiver John Franklin III would be suspended for three games effective immediately. According to the NFL, this decision was made after an internal review found “players misrepresented their vaccination status and the review showed all three violated NFL-NFLPA COVID-19 protocols.” All three players chose not to contest the ruling and chose to forgo making any appeals, making the judgment effective as of this week. Brown and Edwards would make their return the day after Christmas, in Week 16 of the season. Franklin’s suspension would go into effect whenever he would be signed by a team.

The Buccaneers organization wasn’t penalized and complied with the league’s investigation. “We appreciate the league’s timely handling of this matter and recognize the importance of the health and safety protocols that have been established,” a statement from the team read. “We will continue to implement all league COVID-19 protocols.” Sean Burstyn, the attorney representing Antonio Brown, released a statement to the press on behalf of his client saying: “Mr. Brown is vaccinated and continues to support the vaccine for any person for whom it is appropriate. 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 and he will use this time as an opportunity to treat his ankle injury. Mr. Brown will be motivated, well-rested, and in the best shape of his life when he returns in week 16.”

The investigation into Brown’s antics was sparked by the revelations from his former chef, Steven Ruiz which were published in the Tampa Bay Times. Ruiz accused the player of obtaining a fake vaccination card for the Johnson & Johnson vaccine shot, and provided screenshots of the conversation he had with the player’s girlfriend.

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