NFL suspends Antonio Brown, two others for lying about vaccine status

Antonio Brown #81 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers runs with the ball against Rodney McLeod #23 of the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field on October 14, 2021 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Mitchell Leff | Getty Images

The NFL said Thursday that it had suspended Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Antonio Brown and two other players for three games without pay for lying about their Covid-19 vaccination status.

Brown, Buccaneers safety Mike Edwards and free agent John Franklin III all accepted their discipline and waived their right of appeal after a probe in which they were represented by the players’ union, the NFL said in a statement. 

“That review supported those allegations and found that the three players violated the protocols,” the NFL said.

The NFL did not provide additional details on the probe.

Brown’s vaccination status was first questioned last month when the Tampa Bay Times alleged he had paid for fake coronavirus vaccine cards before training camp.

“The health and safety of players and personnel is our top priority,” the NFL and NFL Players Association said in a joint statement Thursday.

“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.”

The Buccaneers said Thursday that it will continue to implement all NFL-NFLPA Covid-19 protocols 

“We appreciate the League’s timely handling of this matter and recognize the importance of the health and safety protocols that have been established,” the team said in a statement Thursday. 

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