The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have released a statement to clarify reports that one of its players faked their COVID-19 vaccination card.
The former live-in chef of Bucs wideout Antonio Brown told the Tampa Bay Times that Brown obtained a fake COVID-19 vaccination card to avoid NFL protocols.
But according to the Bucs, all vaccinations cards from players and staff members were reviewed by team personnel, and "no irregularities were observed."
In a text exchange obtained by The Times between Brown's Brown’s girlfriend Cydney Moreau and Los Angeles chef Steven Ruiz dated July 2 that Brown was willing to pay $500 to obtain a Johnson & Johnson vaccination card.
According to the newspaper, Brown's name was never mentioned by name in the text exchange.
The NFL released the following statement on the matter:
"We are aware of the report and have been in contact with the club. We will review the matter.
Some additional info: Clubs are responsible for verifying personnel and player vaccination status. These individuals have to present their vaccination cards to club medical staff for verification.
No club has reported any issues during the verification process. In many instances, personnel, players and their family members were administered shots at club facilities. Any attempt by team personnel or players to use a forged or fake card would be reviewed under the personal conduct policy. In addition, it is a federal criminal offense.
This topic was raised by the league on July 22 as part of one of the ongoing all-32 club video conference COVID meetings conducted prior to training camp. Clubs were instructed to scrutinize the cards when presented as the use of a fake card risks the health and safety of the entire club, is a federal criminal crime and subjects the individual to league discipline."