The National Football League (NFL) announced Thursday it has suspended Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Antonio Brown and two other players for violating its COVID-19 protocols.
The National Football League Players Association (NFLPA), the labor union representing NFL players, carried out a joint review with the NFL over recent allegations that Brown, as well as safety Mike Edwards and former wide receiver John Franklin III, had misrepresented their vaccination status.
The review “supported those allegations and found that the three players violated the protocols,” according the NFL statement released Thursday.
Brown and Edwards have each been suspended without pay for the next three games, the league announced. Meanwhile, Franklin, who is a free agent, is not eligible to play in the next three games if signed by a club.
“All three players have accepted the discipline and waived their right of appeal. The suspensions are effective immediately,” according to the NFL statement.
In a statement obtained by NFL Network, Sean Burstyn, a lawyer representing Brown, said that Brown “is vaccinated and continues to support the vaccine for any person for whom it is appropriate.”
“The NFL made its determination and instead of going through the drawn out and distracting process of challenging the outcome, Mr. Brown wrapped this up promptly and he will make [the] most of this time by treating his ankle injury.
“Mr. Brown will be motivated, well rested, and in the best shape of his life” upon his return, Burstyn said.
The NFL’s review that led to its decision suspending Brown came after the Tampa Bay Times reported in November it had received screenshots of text messages that appeared to show Brown trying to acquire a fake vaccination card.
In response, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on the same day issued a statement saying there were no irregularities found when team personel reviewed all the vaccination cards it received from players.
“We appreciate the League’s timely handling of this matter and recognize the importance of the health and safety protocols that have been established,” the Buccaneers said in a statement Thursday. “We will continue to implement all league COVID-19 protocols.”