Antonio Brown is being accused of obtaining a fake COVID-19 vaccination card. The Tampa Bay Times reported that Steven Ruiz — a former personal chef for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver — had his girlfriend, model Cydney Moreau, contact Ruiz over the summer to obtain a fake vaccination card. Moreau reportedly offered $500 for a fake card.
Ruiz didn't get Brown the card, but the wide receiver reportedly showed him the ones he had for himself and Moreau that he had purchased. Brown was unwilling to get the COVID-19 vaccine because of the possible side effects. Brown likely got the shot at a later date. Ruiz called out Brown after the wide receiver failed to pay $10,000 owed to him, the Times said.
The Buccaneers issued a statement on the situation. "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," the statement reads, per Pro Football Talk. "All vaccination cards were reviewed by Buccaneers personnel and no irregularities were observed."
Moreau denied the accusation to the Times and said she didn't know Ruiz. Brown's attorney, Sean Burstyn, told ESPN on Thursday that Brown is vaccinated. He said: "If Antonio's doctors and the guidelines require a booster shot, then at that time, he'll be happy to do it live on TV and everyone can come watch."
NFL spokesperson Brian McCarthy said the league is "aware of the report and have been in contact with the club. We will review the matter." Vaccines aren't required for NFL players. If players are not vaccinated they will have to follow different protocols during Aaron Rodgers, Packers Hit With Fines in New COVID Violations Fallout the season and could be fined or suspended for violating them.
Brown re-signed with the Buccaneers earlier this year. Through five games, Brown has caught 29 passes for 418 yards and four touchdowns. He originally signed with the Buccaneers last year and helped the team win the Super Bowl. In eight games last year, Brown caught 45 passes for 483 yards and four scores. Brown spent his first nine seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers and played just one game for the New England Patriots in 2019.