Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Antonio Brown—who tested positive for COVID-19 earlier in the season—has been accused by his former live-in chef of buying a fake COVID-19 vaccination card to skirt NFL protocols, reports the Tampa Bay Times. Sean Burstyn, Brown’s lawyer, denied Ruiz’s claim. “Coronavirus has hit close to home as it took him out of a game,” wrote Burstyn. “He is healthy, vaccinated, and ready to win another Super Bowl.”
The Los Angeles chef, Steven Ruiz, cites text messages he allegedly received from Brown’s girlfriend, Cydney Moreau, asking him to obtain the fake card. “Can you get the COVID cards?” Moreau texted Ruiz in July, according to a screenshot Ruiz handed over to the Times. “I can try,” replied Ruiz. “JNJ shot. Ab said he would give you $500,” said Moreau. “A.B.” is allegedly a nickname friends, coaches, and teammates of Brown call him. Ruiz alleges Brown eventually told him he’d bought fake cards from another source. He says he believes Alex Guerrero, an alternative medicine practitioner known to work closely with the Bucs, didn’t realize Brown’s card was fake when he came to take a photo of it at his house, per NFL standards.