Antonio Brown is the wide receiver of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers who was recently suspended over vaccine records. After the suspension of Antonio and defensive back Mike Edwards, the NFL is taking steps to avoid further suspensions.
NFL officials spent the past week investigating multiple teams. They were calling the players to ask about their COVID-19 history. According to ESPN, they were asking the players if they had been vaccinated on-site at the team’s training facility or off-site at another location.
League officials went on to collect further information on this to ascertain whether any other players have misrepresented their vaccination status. Teams have been cautious about players using fake vaccination cards and have warned some of them about the severity of such an offense. Till now, there are no active investigations over fake vaccination cards, the league wants to make sure no other players attempt to game the system.
Buccaneers coach Bruce Arians called for the league to take further and stronger action. “There’s a lot more to the story,” Arians told reporters Friday. “I just hope they don’t stop looking.”
Brown and Edwards’ actions seemed to bother the league. According to the sources, it bothered them so much that it wanted to suspend them up to eight games. The league argued for six to eight game suspensions for each player, which would have ended their 2021 seasons.
After certain negotiations and discussions with the NFL Players Association, the two sides settled on three-game suspensions for each of the three players. Brown, Edwards, and John Franklin III, each were suspended for three games, with each player waiving his right to appeal.
Others around the league are predicting that this will not be the last player’s suspension for their vaccination status. Fake vaccination cards are not part of the jointly agreed-to COVID-19 protocols.
Such violations are federal offenses. Any player who attempted to use a fake vaccination card would open himself up to a federal investigation, worse than discipline that the NFL could impose.