Two weeks after being accused of obtaining a fake COVID-19 vaccine card, Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Antonio Brown has been suspended without pay for three games for violating NFL protocols and lying about his vaccination status, the league announced on Thursday.
In total, three players -- Brown, Buccaneers safety Mike Edwards, and free-agent receiver John Franklin III -- were issued suspensions after the league reviewed allegations and concluded the claims were valid. All three players accepted the discipline and waved their right to appeal, per an NFL release.
"I think they should be suspended for the rest of the season. That's below board. Talk about being brazen and being reckless," Brandon Tierney said during the Tiki and Tierney show on Thursday. "I'd suspend him for the rest of the season. I'd send a swift message now, you're gone, to dissuade anybody else from trying to be that dumb, that reckless... To be that flippant, reckless, and cavalier is disgraceful. And he shouldn't play another snap this season."
The allegations into Brown's vaccine status came from his former personal chef, Steven Ruiz, who told the Tampa Bay Times in November that Brown's girlfriend, model Cydney Moreau, asked Ruiz to seek out a fake vaccination card for him. According to the bombshell report, Ruiz said he wasn't able to acquire a card for Brown, but added that the Pro Bowl receiver showed him cards purchased a few weeks later.
Brown's attorney, Sean Burstyn, disputed Ruiz's accusations two weeks ago, telling an ESPN reporter that his client was vaccinated. On Thursday, Burstyn maintained that stance, saying in a statement, "Mr. Brown is vaccinated and continues to support the vaccine for any person for whom it is appropriate."
The Buccaneers also responded to the news of Brown's suspension, saying in a statement they "appreciate the League's timely handling of this matter and recognize the importance of the health and safety protocols that have been established." After the Times report was published, the team said they had found "no irregularities" with Brown's vaccine card. Brown happened to miss Week 3 due to a positive COVID-19 test, and since Week 7, he's been sidelined with an ankle injury.
Tierney's complete thoughts on Brown's suspension can be accessed in the audio player above.