Antonio Brown should have paid that chef

The WR is accused of using a fake vaxx card, but how the Bucs will investigate is still unknown

click to enlarge TORI RICHMAN/TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS
Tori Richman/Tampa Bay Buccaneers

A former chef has accused Tampa Bay Buccaneers wideout Antonio Brown of obtaining and using a fake COVID-19 card, according to Rick Stroud.

Stroud’s report says Brown's former chef, Steven Ruiz, currently works in Los Angeles and recently had a “falling out” with the former Steeler over $10,000 of an “uncollected debt.” The chef sent a screenshot of text messages to the Tampa Bay Times showing an exchange between the wide receiver’s girlfriend Cydney Moreau where she asks Ruiz if he can locate any fake vaccination cards for “AB.”

In response to the report, Antonio Brown’s attorney Sean Burstyn has maintained Brown’s vaccination status, going so far as to say “Be like Antonio brown and get the vaccine.” The Bucs released a statement claiming that “All vaccination cards were reviewed by Buccaneers personnel and no irregularities were observed.”

No other details about a team investigation in response to yesterday’s specific news about Brown were included. That’s most likely because of privacy laws, but it’ll be interesting to see how—and if—the Bucs dig into this.

Alex Guerrero—Tom Brady’s personal trainer and co-founder of the quarterback’s company TB12 (which was recently under fire for receiving a PPP loan of over $960,000 as part of the “small business lending program” created under the Trump administration)—took the photographs of Brown’s vaccination card. Guerrero is suspected to have no knowledge of the card being an alleged fake, but he declined to comment when the Times reached out.

Guerrero has his own set of problems thanks to his fake claims of being a medical doctor and the promotion of his own product, Supreme Greens, which he claimed cured “ailments such as cancer, AIDS, multiple sclerosis, and Parkinson’s disease.” 

Of course, Brown is not without his previous off the field issues, with the sexual assault lawsuit involving a former trainer wrapping up in April of this year, plus the long list of other legal issues including being charged with felony burglary of a vehicle, misdemeanor battery, and misdemeanor criminal mischief—all things he appeared to have left behind during last year’s championship season.

It will be important to see how the NFL handles this issue, especially with the recent handling of Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers and his own dealings with his vaccination status. The quarterback claimed to have been “immunized” in a press conference with reporters in August. When discussing the matter with esteemed medical professional Joe Rogan (that’s sarcasm), Rodgers said he petitioned to have an alternate immunization process be approved by the NFL (it was not); that left the QB unvaccinated, a fact only made public following Rodgers testing positive for the virus, which forced him to miss 10 days.

The NFL then dolled out a fine of $300,000 to the Green Bay Packers for its handling of the situation; the league also fined Rodgers and Packers receiver Allen Lazard $14,650 each for “failing to follow the COVID-19 protocols agreed on by the league and players’ union” (for frame of reference: Cowboys wide receiver Ceedee Lamb has been fined a total of $46,865 for having an untucked jersey during games).

Rodgers hadn’t been wearing masks in press conferences, and for the question of why his violations of league rules were only subject to fines after the news about his vaccine status was made public (despite the NFL’s knowledge of the fact that Rodgers wasn’t vaccinated), no one seems to have an answer. 

All of this to say, how the NFL deals with Brown and its pending investigation will be very interesting to say the least. Will Brown be suspended if the league finds merit in these allegations, or will he simply be fined in a manner similar to Rodgers? While Rodgers didn’t use a fake vaccine card as Brown has been accused of doing, he certainly wasn’t as honest and forthcoming as he could have been with the public in regards to his own vaccination status.

Will the Bucs take action against Brown if any investigations find merit to these allegations? Doubtful, as the Bucs have shown that they value winning over everything. 

So we’ll see what happens, but we’ve all learned at least one thing here: Pay the damn chef.

@ctbrantley12

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