Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Bruce Arians said on Friday that he has no reason whatsoever to believe that Antonio Brown used a fake COVID-19 vaccination card, something he was accused of doing on Thursday.
In fact, Arians doesn’t think it matters to his team at all leading up to Monday’s matchup with the New York Giants.
"We did our due diligence,” Arians said, via ESPN’s Jenna Laine. “The league will do theirs. The statement says everything. I really don't think it's a story and it has nothing to do with the Giants game."
Brown’s status, however, does have to do with their game against the Giants and every other game they have this season. It could directly impact both his and the rest of the team’s health.
If nothing else, Brown being unavailable for that game would specifically hinder the Buccaneers’ offense — just like it did during Week 3 when Brown tested positive for the coronavirus.
When this was pointed out to him, however, Arians fired right back.
“No it doesn’t. It has nothing to do with the Giants game,” he said, via ESPN.
Antonio Brown accused of using fake vaccine card
A report on Thursday from the Tampa Bay Times alleged that Brown sought and may have obtained a fake vaccination card before training camp — which could be a federal crime.
Brown’s former personal chef and assistant Steven Ruiz spoke to both the Tampa Bay Times and ESPN about the issue, and said that he was asked by Brown’s girlfriend if he knew how to obtain a fake vaccination card for both of them.
That, he said, made him “very uncomfortable.”
Ruiz also said that, when he didn’t get fake vaccine cards for Brown, one of Brown’s teammates got them for him.
"He got them from another player who was selling them," Ruiz said, via ESPN. "That player came over to the house multiple times. He had to get another copy of [his girlfriend’s] vaccine card because they got her birthday wrong on the first one."
Ruiz declined to identify the player.
Brown’s girlfriend, Cydney Moreau, denied these allegations and said she didn’t know Ruiz — though the Tampa Bay Times said it confirmed her phone number in texts about the cards with Ruiz.
Brown’s lawyer denied the claims, too, and said that Brown is fully vaccinated. He even said that Brown would get a booster shot live on television if necessary.
The NFL is now investigating, and the Buccaneers said they found “no irregularities” in Brown’s vaccination card.
“All vaccination cards were reviewed by Buccaneers personnel and no irregularities were observed,” the team said in a statement.