Bucs Players Suspended Without Pay For Allegedly Faking Vaccination Status

Buccaneers players Antonio Brown and Mike Edwards have both been suspended for three games after the NFL and NFLPA discovered that the two have lied about their vaccination status, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. The absences will be without pay.

Rapoport tweeted: "#Bucs WR Antonio Brown and Mike Edwards have each been suspended without pay for the next three games for misrepresenting their vaccination status under the NFL-NFLPA COVID-19 Protocol. They have accepted the discipline and waived their right of appeal."

On Nov. 18, wideout Antonio Brown received scorn from the NFL media for allegedly obtaining a fake vaccination card to hide under the guise of being vaccinated — which grants NFL players shortened windows of return from COVID and media access sans PPE. Brown and his lawyer refuted the claims and stated that the player was indeed vaccinated. The backlash was not as harsh as Aaron Rodgers' run-in with the media over his unvaccinated status, despite never presenting a fake vaccine card.

Brown was already slated to miss an added two weeks due to an ankle injury that has kept him sidelined since Week 6. Brown may not be back until the playoffs with the missed time due to injury compounded by the COVID infringement. Edwards is designated to return from his suspension in Week 16 of the extended season.

The Buccaneers released a statement following the two players' suspension:

"We appreciate the league's timely handling of this matter and recognize the importance of the health and safety protocols that have been established. We will continue to implement all league COVID-19 protocols."

Tampa Bay and coach Bruce Arians have been ardent with getting players vaccinated. The Bucs were one of the first teams to implement a wristband system during the offseason, marking the unvaccinated players apart from the vaccinated.

Arians announced that each Bucs player had received the COVID-19 vaccine on Sept. 2.

Read up on Armando Salguero's deep dive into how the League's stringent COVID guidelines affect teams in the win column and within the locker room.

Follow along on Twitter: @AlejandroAveela

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Alejandro Avila lives in Southern California and previously covered news for the LA Football Network. Jeopardy expert and grumpy sports fan. Known for having watched every movie and constant craving for dessert. @alejandroaveela (on X)