Perhaps Antonio Brown was scared.
Perhaps he – together with Tampa Bay Buccaneers teammate Mike Edwards and former teammate John Franklin III – apprehensive about negative effects from the COVID-19 vaccination, similar to many different People, who’ve opted towards getting the shot.
We don’t actually know, and given Brown’s historical past, it’s exhausting to seek out logic in a lot of what the proficient but troubled extensive receiver does.
However we do know this: If, as alleged, he used a pretend vaccination card to provide the looks of satisfying league protocol, Brown has lowered himself to the bottom of lows.
Not did he and the opposite two gamers apparently deceive the NFL and their employer, in addition they betrayed the belief of their coaches and teammates.
On Thursday, the NFL leveled a three-game suspension against the three player for misrepresenting their vaccination standing, although the league and NFL Gamers Affiliation offered no additional particulars.
However the Buccaneers ought to carry the punishment a step additional and launch Brown, who got here to the group final yr with a checkered previous after unstable and disruptive habits whereas with the Steelers and Raiders, and troubling off-field actions that prompted his launch after a brief stint with the Patriots.
As soon as once more, he has confirmed himself to be a egocentric particular person who doesn’t consider guidelines or the legislation applies to him. This time, his selections might have carried penalties that prolonged effectively past himself.
And this wasn’t only a mistake, or some matter of private or non secular conviction.
In the event that they did safe pretend vaccination playing cards, Brown and the 2 different gamers intentionally gave the NFL and their group the finger, however within the shadiest of how.
Brown, Edwards and Franklin all seemingly believed that they had discovered a solution to beat the system. And for some time, that they had. Had it not been for Brown’s former chef, Steven Ruiz, who put his former employer on blast whereas additionally accusing the extensive receiver of failing to pay him $10,000 in wages, Brown and Co. might have continued to skate.
All as a result of they wished to reside the great life.
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The NFL and NFLPA have agreed to strict protocols, which makes life so much much less pleasing for unvaccinated gamers.
They should be topic to each day COVID-19 testing. They have to put on masks indoors. They will’t eat with their teammates, can’t go away their resort rooms, can’t attend giant gatherings.
Those that have obtained the vaccine can, for essentially the most half, conduct their lives in a standard method.
Brown, Edwards and Franklin didn’t wish to get the vaccine sooner or later, and that’s positive. (A number of experiences say all three have since been vaccinated.) There are many NFL gamers who weren’t snug with getting the vaccine, and due to that, they settle for the restrictions they need to comply with.
However Brown and Co. didn’t wish to reside such inflexible lives.
And so, they determined one of the best ways to realize freedom was to lie.
Let’s not lump these guys in with Aaron Rodgers. The Inexperienced Bay Packers quarterback drew the ire of some followers and a few media members, and even some league insiders, as a result of he responded to reporters’ questions on his vaccination standing by saying “I have been immunized” and allowed them to assume that meant vaccinated.
Rodgers didn’t wish to cope with the general public backlash to his resolution to not get the shot.
However he was totally forthcoming together with his group, and he adhered to the necessities of each day testing. He was fined $14,650 for attending a Halloween celebration.
This isn’t the identical factor.
Coaches and gamers lie in information conferences on a regular basis. However what issues on this regard is how they function behind closed doorways.
Now, Brown provides yet one more black mark to his tarnished legacy that features outbursts, immaturity, disruptive habits in forcing his approach off of two groups and allegations of home abuse.
Brown got here to the Buccaneers figuring out that he needed to work to restore his picture and to stay within the good graces of a corporation that adopted the urgings of Tom Brady and gave him a fourth probability.
He added one other dimension to an offense that already boasts proficient receivers Mike Evans and Chris Godwin and tight finish Rob Gronkowski. Brown recorded a landing catch within the Super Bowl win over Kansas City in February.
Did he really feel like a return to the mountain high restored his invincibility?
Due to his bodily presents, the Buccaneers could possibly be inclined to let Brown off with the three-game slap on the wrist. But when they actually care about sending a robust message of accountability and honesty to the youthful members of their group, they need to reduce him.
He didn’t simply trick the group. He might have uncovered a bunch of teammates to a COVID-19 outbreak that might have shut Tampa Bay down for every week or two. This yr, the NFL warned groups that if video games are postponed as a result of COVID-19 and might’t be made up, they’re on the hook for the monetary losses, and the gamers don’t obtain paychecks.
Brown knew all of this and nonetheless determined to pretend his vaccination standing.
He’s lucky that the worst – a COVID-19 outbreak, losses of funds and even severe illnesses or loss of life – didn’t happen.
The Bucs very effectively could possibly be respiratory a sigh of aid as effectively.
However they shouldn’t let Brown skate. It’s at all times one thing with him, and it’s solely a matter of time earlier than he finds a solution to screw up once more.
Outbursts, arguments with coaches, unruly administration of private life … that’s all unhealthy sufficient. However this time, Brown’s selfishness might have actually proved expensive in an actual life sense.
And for that, Brown ought to pay the value.
This text initially appeared on USA TODAY: Antonio Brown finds new low with ‘misrepresented’ vaccine status