Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians was proud to announce at the beginning of September that his team was 100 percent vaccinated against COVID-19.
Despite serious allegations levied toward Bucs wide receiver Antonio Brown by his former live-in chef Steven Ruiz suggesting that Brown is not vaccinated and has been using a fake vaccination card, Arians claims to have no reason to believe that his September statement was incorrect.
Speaking on The Rich Eisen Show on Friday, Arians shared his confidence that the Tampa Bay Times report alleging Brown's potential federal misconduct is a non-story, that he trusts Brown is vaccinated against coronavirus and that the five-time All-Pro receiver did not lie about his status to the team.
“There is no story. Yeah, [Brown] says he’s vaccinated and has a card, just like everybody else on our football team," Arians said on the show. "There’s a trust factor that goes along with it, and we did our due diligence on everybody. The league will look into the matter and do their due diligence, but it’s really no story.”
Arians would reiterate his thoughts during Friday's media availability after Buccaneers' practice, indicating that he has no reasons to believe Brown submitted a counterfeit card, "whatsoever."
"The [Buccaneers team] statement says everything," stated Arians. "I really don't think it's a story."
The statement, released immediately after the accusations broke on Thursday, can be read below.
“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.”
Ruiz accused Brown of receiving his supposed fake card from an unnamed Buccaneers teammate, he told ESPN in an interview on Friday. He implicated Brown's girlfriend, Cydney Moreau, sharing texts conversations that revealed Moreau as a middle-man who asked Ruiz for Johnson and Johnson vaccine cards in exchange for $500 of Brown's money.
"[Brown] got them from another player who was selling them," said Ruiz. "That player came over to the house multiple times. He had to get another copy of Cyd's vaccine card because they got her birthday wrong on the first one."
Ruiz also accuses Brown of owing him $10,000 for his services as a live-in chef.
Sean Burstyn, an attorney who represents Brown, has vehemently denied any wrongdoing by the Tampa Bay receiver and has asked for proof of transaction, telling NFL Network's Ian Rapoport that Brown is indeed vaccinated against COVID-19.
However, according to Greg Auman of The Athletic, Burstyn has yet to provide documentation confirming that Brown has received the shot.
Yet, despite further proof that Brown has been immunized (legitimately, not by the Aaron Rodgers method), Arians believes he's seen all he needs to see to trust the Buccaneers receiver's injection status.
“When a guy gives me the card, I’m good with it," Arians said. "I don’t know how this story got going, other than somebody wanted some money."
You can watch Arians' full interview on The Rich Eisen Show below. Fast forward to 3:18 for the segment regarding Brown.
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