Bruce Arians – Tampa Bay Buccaneers Have Done “Due Diligence” Regarding Antonio Brown’s Vaccine Status

TAMPA, Fla – Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Bruce Arians said Friday he had no reason to believe wide receiver Antonio Brown had obtained a fake COVID-19 vaccination card and that the team had done their due diligence in checking the players’ vaccination cards.

“None at all,” Arians said. “We’ve been doing our due diligence. The league will do theirs. The statement says it all. I really don’t think that’s a story, and it has nothing to do with the Giants game.”

When it was mentioned that player health and safety impact every game, given that Brown missed Week 3 due to a positive COVID-19 test, Arians joked, “No, it doesn’t. it’s not. It has nothing to do with the Giants game. “

In a Tampa Bay Times report on Thursday, Brown’s former home chef Steven Ruiz, who also took on the role of personal assistant, accused Brown of getting a fake vaccine card, after Ruiz allegedly been interviewed by Brown’s girlfriend. , Cydney Moreau, how to go about getting one for each of them.

Ruiz said he told him he would “look into the matter,” but he never got the cards, which is not only subject to the NFL’s personal conduct policy, but also a crime. federal.

“I was very uncomfortable,” Ruiz told ESPN on Friday. But he said Brown got a card from a Buccaneers teammate.

“He got them from another player who was selling them,” said Ruiz, who declined to name the player. “This player has been to the house several times. He must have obtained another copy of Cyd’s immunization card because they got his first birthday wrong.”

“I’m going to sit on it for a little while,” Ruiz said. “Eventually the truth will come out. If this becomes a larger, more in-depth investigation to follow the NFL – just to get into legal terms – it will all be revealed.”

Moreau denied the charge and told The Times she did not know Ruiz, who provided screenshots of the alleged claim to the newspaper.

Brown’s attorney, Sean Burstyn, denied that Brown got a fake vaccine card. He asked for proof of transaction for the card and said he didn’t believe it existed.

“If Antonio’s doctors and the guidelines require a booster, then at that point he’ll be happy to do it live on TV and everyone can come and see him,” Burstyn said.

Ruiz said he moved to Tampa, Florida to live with Brown, and after their business relationship ended after the Week 1 win over the Dallas Cowboys, Brown tried to renegotiate his rate and he returned. in Los Angeles.

He said it was well known in Brown’s camp that Brown was hesitant about the vaccine and its side effects.

“We talked about it like nothing had happened,” Ruiz told ESPN. “So it was never really like a secret thing [with] no one around his camp. It was just something that everyone knew and that everyone was discussing. “

Ruiz reached out to Kevin Blatt, a story media broker who also serves as his spokesperson, for help. Blatt spoke to Buccaneers’ attorney general about the allegations. Ruiz believes his claims have been dismissed. The Buccaneers released a statement on Thursday saying they had done their due diligence as the NFL makes teams responsible for verifying vaccination cards by taking photos of them and does not take any extra steps to verify their authenticity. .

“To be honest, I feel like the Bucs have already started to distance themselves from him, once they knew this story was going to end,” Ruiz said. “They were already trying to wash their hands of it because they don’t want any of it. The NFL doesn’t want any of it. From what I understand from Bucs in general – they just want to keep their hands clean. . “

NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy told ESPN on Thursday that no further vaccine cards had been questioned and that teams remained responsible for verifying the authenticity of the cards. Players, coaches and other team employees must present their vaccination records to club medical staff for verification.

“It’s a health hazard,” Ruiz said of the fake vaccine cards.

While his original goal was to get some of his finances back, he said, “Money is what it is. I will not insist on the $ 10,000. It’s just more of a public safety issue that I wanted to bring to light and lie and cheat that is going on behind the scenes at the Bucs. “

Would he have come forward if he was still working for Brown? “That’s a good question,” said Ruiz, who was not required to sign a nondisclosure as part of his job. “I don’t know. I can’t answer that.”

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