Antonio Brown suspended 3 games for misrepresenting vaccination status
Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Antonio Brown and defensive back Mike Edwards have both been suspended three games without pay for violating the NFL's COVID-19 protocols, the league announced Thursday.
The NFL determined that both players misrepresented their vaccination status.
"The health and safety of players and personnel is our top priority," the league said in a statement. "The protocols were jointly developed working with our respective experts to ensure that we are practicing and playing football as safely as possible during the ongoing pandemic. The NFL-NFLPA jointly reinforce their commitment and further emphasize the importance of strict adherence to the protocols to protect the well-being of everyone associated with the NFL."
The league opened an investigation into Brown in November after his former personal chef accused him of obtaining a fake vaccination card before training camp. The wideout's lawyer, Sean Burstyn, issued a statement at the time noting his client was vaccinated.
The Buccaneers addressed the suspensions in a statement Thursday.
"We appreciate the league's timely handling of this matter and recognize the importance of the health and safety protocols that have been established," the team said.
Brown, 33, hasn't played since Week 6 due to an ankle injury. He's reportedly expected to miss at least two more games because of the ailment.
Burstyn reiterated Thursday that Brown is vaccinated, adding he won't appeal the suspension.
"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 this most of this time by treating his ankle injury," Burstyn said in a statement, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. "Mr. Brown will be motivated, well-rested, and in the best shape of his life when he returns in Week 16."
The NFL previously suspended Brown for the first eight weeks of the 2020 season for violating its personal conduct policy.
Tampa Bay faces the Atlanta Falcons, Buffalo Bills, and New Orleans Saints over the next three weeks. Brown and Edwards are eligible to return on Dec. 26 against the Carolina Panthers.
The league also suspended free-agent wide receiver John Franklin III three games for violating COVID-19 protocols.