Tampa Bay Buccaneers suspend WR Antonio Brown 3 games for COVID-19 violation

The NFL announced on Thursday that Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Antonio Brown has been suspended three games for violating the NFL-NFLPA COVID-19 protocols. The league and players’ union found that Brown was among three players who misrepresented their vaccination statuses. A former personal chef of Brown’s said earlier this month that the wide receiver had obtained a fake COVID-19 vaccination card over the summer. The league and players’ union said in a statement: “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.” According to the NFL, all three players accepted their discipline and will not appeal.

Buccaneers backup safety Mike Edwards, and free-agent wide receiver John Franklin III — whom Tampa Bay waived in August — were also suspended for three games. Brown’s and Edwards’ suspensions are without pay, and both will be eligible to return to the Buccaneers lineup for the team’s Dec. 26 game against the Carolina Panthers.

Brown’s attorney, Sean Burstyn, said in a statement that Brown is vaccinated and “continues to support the vaccine for any person for whom it is appropriate,” adding, “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 make this most of this time by treating his ankle injury. Mr. Brown will be motivated, well rested, and in the best shape of his life when he returns in week 16.”

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