Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Antonio Brown allegedly obtains a fake COVID-19 vaccination card, per Tampa Bay Times. Thursday evening Tampa Times reported, a former personal chef, Steven Ruiz, of Brown accused him of asking his girlfriend to reach out to Ruiz over the summer to obtain a fake vaccination card that said he received the Johnson & Johnson shot. Text messages were provided by Ruiz that displayed Brown’s girlfriend offering $500 for a fake card.
However, Ruiz explained he was unable to acquire the fake card, per ESPN. Allegedly, Brown a few weeks later showed him cards he had himself and his girlfriend purchase. Brown reportedly was unwilling to receive the vaccine at the time because of the possible side effects. However, he may have potentially received the shot at a later date.
Ruiz decided to go public with the accusations after Brown failed to pay $10,000 owed to him, per ESPN. Kevin Blatt, a spokesperson for Ruiz, gave the Buccaneers the names of two players with fake vaccination cards. The Buccaneers released a statement as a result: “received completed vaccination cards from all Tampa Bay Buccaneers players.”
“All vaccination cards were reviewed by Buccaneers personnel and no irregularities were observed,” the team said.
Sean Burstyn, Brown’s attorney, reported that Brown is vaccinated. He also added, “If Antonio’s doctors and the guidelines require a booster shot, then at that time, he’ll be happy to do it live on TV and everyone can come to watch.”
Brown’s girlfriend denies all accusations and knows Ruiz.
Tampa Bay Buccanneers deal the NFL policies
NFL spokesperson Brian McCarthy released a statement that league representatives have been in contact with the Buccaneers and will review the matter. McCarthy also emphasized that no other cards were in question and the responsibility to verify the authenticity of the cards is the teams. No NFL team reported any issues during the vaccine and verification process, per ESPN.