Antonio Brown hasn't played a snap in over a month due to a lingering ankle injury suffered in early October. His name is back in the news today, and not for the reasons the Tampa Bay Buccaneers were hoping.
The Tampa Bay Times published a report today in which Brown's live-in chef claimed the star wideout's girlfriend asked him for fake vaccination cards ahead of training camp this year, providing text messages as proof. The chef said he was unable to procure any fake cards for Brown, but the receiver managed to find some anyway. The chef further claims that TB-12 guru Alex Guerrero came to Brown's house to treat an injury and took a picture of the vax card, unaware that it was fake, to send to the Bucs as proof as vaccination. It should be noted that the chef in question also says Brown owes him $10,000.
Per the Times:
TAMPA — Bucs receiver Antonio Brown obtained a fake COVID-19 vaccination card so he could avoid NFL protocols, according to his former live-in chef.
Ruiz said he was unable back in July to find a fake vaccination card for Brown, who had told those around him that he was worried about the vaccine’s potential negative effects on his body. A few weeks later, however, Ruiz said Brown showed him fake vaccination cards, which the wide receiver told Ruiz he had purchased for himself and Moreau. They were sitting on Brown’s dining room table, Ruiz said. It was just days before the start of Bucs training camp.
Brown's lawyer denied the claims and said Brown was vaccinated, while the Bucs and Guerrero declined to comment.
This is not the first time Brown has been accused of something in the public eye and it does not feel like it will be the last. No NFL player has been busted for using a fake vaccination card, but Brown may very well be the first if any of these claims prove to be true.
It should be fairly open-and-shut on the NFL's end, though. With the resources at their disposal it should not be difficult to fact-check Brown's lawyer's claim that he's vaccinated. Then we'll find out if these are unsubstantiated allegations made in an effort by the chef to get what he's owed, or if there's fire where the smoke is.