The NFL announced Thursday that it has suspended without pay Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Antonio Brown, safety Mike Edwards, and free agent John Franklin III for misrepresenting their COVID-19 vaccination status.
In a statement, the league said during a review, it was found that the players were in violation of NFL COVID-19 protocols. They accepted their suspensions, the NFL added, and will miss their next three games. In a statement, the Buccaneers said the team recognizes "the importance of the health and safety protocols that have been established."
In November, Brown's private chef claimed to The Tampa Bay Times that the player purchased fake vaccination cards for himself and his girlfriend. Brown's lawyer, Sean Burstyn, said in a statement obtained by the NFL Network on Thursday that his client 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."