Antonio Brown wasn’t vaccinated months ago when he procured a phony vaccine card, but apparently he is now. Brown, Mike Edwards and John Franklin III, all of whom were suspended three games for "misrepresenting" their vaccination status, are now vaccinated, according to Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated. Franklin remains a free agent (the Bucs cut him during training camp) while Brown and Edwards are eligible to return against the Panthers in Week 16.
Brown was outed for his fake vax card by disgruntled chef Stephen Ruiz, who retaliated against the receiver for stiffing him $10,000. The league became suspicious of Brown in their investigation after discovering his vaccine card came from Citrus County, Florida, well north of Hillsborough County, which contains Tampa and its surrounding communities. Edwards and Franklin’s cards were also from Citrus County, despite neither having ties to that area.
The NFL, in all likelihood, wanted to suspend Brown longer, but settled on three games in exchange for him waiving his right to appeal. Brown’s punishment has fueled an interesting discussion on social media with many wondering why the league came down so hard on him while Aaron Rodgers got off with a slap on the wrist. Rodgers came under fire last month for contradictory remarks about his vaccination status. Ultimately, the Packers quarterback was fined $14,650 for violations of the league’s COVID protocol.
While Rodgers was certainly guilty of deceiving the general public—and worse, spreading misinformation about a virus that has killed over 700,000 Americans—he didn’t do anything illegal, unlike Brown, who could be charged with a felony for knowingly using a fraudulent vaccine card.
Brown went to a lot of trouble, not only to secure a bogus vax card, but to hide it from the NFL for as long as he did when it probably would have been a lot easier to just get the shot.