Oct 14, 2021; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Antonio Brown (81) against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

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Report: Antonio Brown accused of obtaining fake COVID vaccination card

Tampa Bay Buccaneers receiver Antonio Brown is accused of obtaining a fake COVID-19 vaccination card to avoid NFL protocols, the Tampa Bay Times reported on Thursday.

The publication said that Brown’s former live-in chef, Steven Ruiz, was the source of the information.

According to the report, Brown’s girlfriend, Cydney Moreau, told Ruiz in a text message on July 2 that Brown was willing to pay $500 for a Johnson & Johnson vaccination card.

The Tampa Bay Times showed the text conversation between the two, in which Moreau asks Ruiz about getting the COVID cards and following up shortly with “JNJ shot. Ab said he will give you $500.”

Ruiz said he was unable to find a fake vaccination card for Brown. He said a few weeks later, Brown showed him fake vaccination cards that he said he purchased for himself and Moreau.

Ruiz and Brown later had a falling out over a debt. Ruiz said Brown owns him $10,000 and he decided to speak publicly about the situation after settlement talks were unfruitful.

Brown’s lawyer denies Ruiz’s account and says his client is vaccinated.

“Antonio Brown appreciates the severity of the pandemic, which is why he got the vaccine and supports everyone for whom it is advisable to get the vaccine,” Sean Burstyn sent in a text to the Tampa Bay Times. “Coronavirus has hit close to home as it took him out of a game. He is healthy, vaccinated, and ready to win another Super Bowl.

“One of the worst parts of the pandemic has been a movement to cast doubt on our country’s vaccination programs with baseless, vindictive tabloid gossip.”

According to the newspaper, Brown didn’t respond to messages seeking comment.

The team, however, released a statement Thursday supporting Brown.

“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,” the team said. “All vaccination cards were reviewed by Buccaneers personnel and no irregularities were observed.”

Brown has caught 29 passes for 418 yards and four touchdowns in five games this season. He has missed the past three games after injuring an ankle against the Philadelphia Eagles on Oct. 14 and is in jeopardy of also missing Monday’s game against the New York Giants.

Prior to the season, Buccaneers coach Bruce Arians said the team was “100 percent vaccinated.”

–Field Level Media

Field Level Media
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FLM has a North American focus while tying into regional and hyper-local resources – providing the ability to distribute compelling content through the writing of professional journalists. As the U.S. sports content provider to dozens of digital and print media publishers through strategic partnerships with the likes of Reuters and Nielsen Sports, FLM covers the nuts and bolts with a breaking news desk and game event coverage.

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