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Why Antonio Brown Was Suspended But Aaron Rodgers Plays on

As news broke that Antonio Brown had been suspended three games for misrepresenting his vaccination status, it left people wondering why Aaron Rodgers did not face the same fate. 

Last month, the Bucs wide receiver was accused by a former live-in chef of obtaining a fake vaccination card in an apparent attempt to duck the NFL's vaccine protocols. As Sports Illustrated's Conor Orr wrote, "this is a felony offense in certain states as the falsifying of the document would have to include the forging of government seals."

"Tampa Bay's Antonio Brown and Mike Edwards have each been suspended without pay for the next three games," the NFL's announcement says. "Free agent John Franklin III, if signed by a club, is also ineligible to play in the next three games. All three players have accepted the discipline and waived their right of appeal. The suspensions are effective immediately."

Meanwhile, Packers quarterback Rodgers tested positive for COVID-19, but during the offseason, he told reporters he was “immunized.” Throughout the season, he did attend press conferences maskless, saying on The Pat McAfee Show, "Some of the rules to me are not based in science at all. They're based purely in trying to out and shame people. Like needing to wear a mask at a podium when every person in the room is vaccinated and wearing a mask makes no sense to me."

In response to claims he did not follow protocols for unvaccinated players, Rodgers said: "I have followed every single protocol to a T, minus the one I just mentioned, which makes absolutely no sense to me."

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As Orr previously reported, it was not entirely clear if Rodgers broke league protocols in those instances. 

Rodgers reportedly only received a $14,650 fine, along with wide receiver Allen Lazard, because the pair attended a Halloween party, per Mark Maske of The Washington Post. The league also reportedly issued a $300,000 fine to the Packers for violating the COVID-19 protocols established by the NFL and the NFL Players Association, according to ESPN's Rob Demovsky. 

One of the major sticking points between the two cases is whether they operated under their given COVID-19 vaccination status. Rodgers largely did, as he mentioned on The Pat McAfee Show, while Brown operated as a vaccinated player. Although his lawyer says the wide receiver is vaccinated, it's unknown when that occurred. 

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