Earlier this week, Antonio Brown’s former live-in chef accused the Tampa Bay wide receiver of submitting a fake covid-19 vaccine card to the Buccaneers in an attempt to skirt the NFL’s covid-19 protocols. The Buccaneers formally responded to the allegations claiming that they did their due diligence.
The allegations come after Brown’s former live-in chef, Steven Ruiz, claimed that Brown’s girlfriend, Cydney Moreau, texted him asking him about obtaining a fake vaccine card. The message said “JNJ shot. Ab said he would give you $500,” apparently alluding to the Johnson and Johnson vaccine. (Ab likely stands for Antonio Brown.) Ruiz shared the text messages with the Tampa Bay Times who confirmed their authenticity.
Ruiz claims that while he was unable to procure a fake vaccination card for Brown, Brown eventually did obtain one for himself and one for Moreau. Ruiz alleges that Brown showed them to him “days before the start of Bucs training camp.”
Per NFL protocol, Brown submitted the vaccine cards to the Bucs who in turn submitted them to NFL regulators. On Thursday, the Buccaneers issued a formal statement that read as such:
“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. All vaccination cards were reviewed by Buccaneers personnel and no irregularities were observed.”
Ruiz no longer works for Brown due to a dispute over a $10,000 debt.
Brown’s attorney, Sean Burstyn, issued a formal statement saying that Brown was vaccinated but did not provide a copy of the vaccine card.
Using or falsifying vaccine records is a federal offense, with each offense carrying the potential for prison time.
Brown received a positive COVID-19 test earlier in the season which forced him to miss 10 days including a week 3 game against the Rams. He has also missed the team’s last three games due to a foot injury.