The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will be without one of their top receivers for the next three games after the NFL handed down suspensions to Antonio Brown and Mike Edwards — and free agent John Franklin III — for violating the league’s COVID-19 protocols after an investigation into allegations that Brown had purchased a fake vaccine card made by his former private chef.
As the NFL’s release says, “the NFLPA represented the three players during a joint NFL-NFLPA review into the recent allegations that players misrepresented their vaccination status under the NFL-NFLPA COVID-19 Protocols. That review supported those allegations and found that the three players violated protocols.”
The Buccaneers offered a brief statement accepting the suspensions, which the three players involved all agreed to serve without an appeal.
It’s clear that everyone seems to want this to all go away, but it is a significant story in that it’s not just a violation of NFL policy but a federal crime to use a fake vaccination card — although it seems it won’t get to the point of federal charges coming their way. From a football perspective, it’s a big loss for a Bucs team trying to lock up a top seed in the NFC to have to go into their next three games with the Falcons, Bills, and Saints without two of their biggest weapons on the outside.