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Report: Buccaneers WR Antonio Brown Accused of Obtaining Fake Vaccine Card

Rick Stroud of The Tampa Bay Times produced the report Thursday afternoon.

Antonio Brown is accused of not being vaccinated and obtaining a fake Johnson & Johnson vaccination card, per Rick Stroud of The Tampa Bay Times.

According to Stroud’s report, Brown’s girlfriend, Cydney Moreau, texted his live-in chef, Steven Ruiz, with the proposition of paying Ruiz $500 in order to obtain a fake vaccination card that would help Brown avoid the NFL’s COVID-19 protocols. The Tampa Bay times obtained the following screenshot of text messages between Moreau and Ruiz that backs up the claim.

Photo via the Tampa Bay Times

Photo via the Tampa Bay Times

As you can see, Moreau inquired about the agreement on July 2. Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians said on September 3 that the Bucs are “100% vaccinated”, so it looks as if the Bucs have been under the impression that Brown has indeed received the COVID-19 vaccine.

It appears that Brown never reached out to his chef personally, but the fact that Moreau references his nickname “AB” is bound to raise questions. Brown’s nickname is well-known with his teammates and the NFL landscape, in general.

The Buccaneers released the following statement in response to the report.

“After an extensive educational process conducted throughout our organization this past offseason highlighting the benefits of the COVID-19 vaccines, we received completed vaccination cards from all Tampa Bay Buccaneers players and submitted the required information to the NFL through the established process in accordance with league policy. All vaccination cards were reviewed by Buccaneers personnel and no irregularities were observed.”

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Brown’s lawyer, Sean Burstyn, insists that Brown’s vaccination card is real and that this is simply “tabloid gossip”, but it’s also important to note that Brown missed the Week 3 contest against the Los Angeles Rams. While it’s still possible for vaccinated people to contract COVID-19, the unvaccinated are at a much higher risk. And it’s even more important to register the fact that Brown sat out longer than the requi. He didn’t go through the typical two negative tests in 24 hours for vaccinated players.

However, Ruiz’s intent of releasing this info is called into question, as well. Brown reportedly owes him $10k and Ruiz also hired a well-known “Hollywood fixer” in Michael Platt to release the story. Per Stroud, Blatt has been credited with some of the biggest celebrity stories while working with ABC News, TMZ and the National Enquirer. 

And per Stroud, Burstyn asked Ruiz how much he wanted in order to “settle the story”. Ruiz responded with he only wanted the amount that was owed.

You can read the entirety of Stroud’s report, here.

Forging vaccination cards and documents with a government seal is a federal crime under Title 18 of the US Code, Section 10-17, which could result in a fine and a maximum sentence of five years in prison if an individual is convicted.

This story will be updated as details emerge.

Stay tuned to AllBucs for further coverage of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and other NFL news and analysis. Follow along on social media at @SIBuccaneers on Twitter and Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sports Illustrated on Facebook.