NFL Suspends Antonio Brown, 2 Others, For 3 Games For Violating League Covid Protocols
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ superstar wide receiver Antonio Brown has been suspended for “violation of NFL-NFL Players Association protocols.”
Bucs cornerback Mike Edwards and free agent corner John Franklin III were also hit with suspensions. The Bucs duo has been suspended for three games each without pay. Free agent Franklin is ineligible to play the next three games if he is signed by a team.
The suspensions are “effective immediately,” according to NFL.com.
The actions come, of course, after the furor Green Bay Packers’ QB Aaron Rodgers caused when tested positive and then finally admitted he hadn’t been vaccinated, despite perviously declaring that he was “immunized.”
Brown was “misrepresenting his COVID-19 vaccination status,” according to Yahoo. A Tampa Bay Times investigation alleged that Brown bought counterfeit vaccination cards before training camp.
“The health and safety of players and personnel is our top priority,” according to a joint NFL-NFLPA 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 Bucs cooperated with the investigation, reported NFL.com and released a statement after the announcement of the suspensions.
“We appreciate the League’s timely handling of this matter and recognize the importance of the health and safety protocols that have been established,” read the statement. “We will continue to implement all league Covid-19 protocols.”
Brown, who has been out since week 6 with an ankle injury, is expected to spend at least two more games on the IR, so his availability is really only impacted for the game after that. He will, however, lose pay for all three games.
In five games this season, Brown has had 29 catches for 418 receiving yards and four touchdowns, according to ESPN.
Defending Super Bowl champ Tampa Bay, led by Tom Brady, is among the league’s biggest TV draws and sits atop the NFC South after rallying to beat the Colts last week in a nationally-televised game on Fox.