Following the suspension of Buccaneers wide receiver Antonio Brown for misrepresenting his vaccine status under the NFL COVID-19 protocols, his lawyer, Sean Burstyn, released a statement saying his client was vaccinated would continue to "support the vaccine for any person whom it is appropriate."
"The NFL made its determination and, instead of going through the drawn out and distracting process of challenging the outcome, Mr. Brown wrapped this up promptly and he will make the most of this time by treating his ankle injury," Burstyn wrote in the statement. "Mr. Brown will be motivated, well rested and in the best shape of his life when he returns in Week 16."
Along with Brown, safety Mike Edwards and former receiver John Franklin III also misrepresented their vaccine status, according to NFL's announcement on Thursday. Brown and Edwards were suspended for the next three games without pay while Franklin—a free agent—would be ineligible to play in the next three games if he signed with a team.
Brown, Edwards and Franklin accepted the discipline and waived their right of appeal. The suspensions are effective immediately.
Through five games this season, Brown recorded 28 catches for 418 yards and four touchdowns before suffering a sprained ankle in Week 6 that has kept him out of the Bucs starting lineup since mid-October.
Before the season, Tampa Bay coach Bruce Arians said his team was 100% vaccinated and tried to put an end to the controversy around Brown's alleged fake vaccination card during a Nov. 19 appearance on The Dan Patrick Show.
"He says he is vaccinated and he has a card just like everybody else on our football team," Arians said. "There's a trust factor that goes along with it. We did our due diligence, the league will look into the matter and do their due diligence. It's really no story."
It is unclear if Brown will face more legal troubles on this incident. However, the use of fake COVID-19 vaccination cards is a felony in some states.
More NFL Coverage:
- Antonio Brown's Three-Game Suspension Is a Nervous White Flag From the NFL
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- A Fake Vaccine Card Would Be the NFL's Most Serious Breach of COVID-19 Protocol Yet
- 2022 NFL Offseason Head Coaching Carousel Primer
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