Since Aaron Rodgers got caught lying about the COVID-19 vaccine, athlete vaccination status is dominating the news again. Plus, the end of an exemption will expose more athlete anti-vaxxers.
Let’s start in the NFL, where the latest controversy is over whether or not Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Antonio Brown secured a fake vaccination card. Last Friday, Nov. 19, a story emerged in which Brown’s former chef, Steven Ruiz, alleges that he was asked by Brown’s girlfriend Cydney Moreau about obtaining fake vaxx cards.
Brown’s lawyer Sean Burstyn told ESPN his client is in fact vaccinated and would be willing to go on live TV to take a booster shot.
“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.”
Is this the NFL or a reality show? Don’t answer that.
Bucs head coach Bruce Arians said the team did its due diligence on all vaccination cards.
“We did our due diligence. The league will do theirs.”
The Bucs released a statement as well which in part read:
“We received completed vaccination cards from all Tampa Bay Buccaneers players. All vaccination cards were reviewed by Buccaneers personnel and no irregularities were observed.”
The league has been made aware of the allegation and is reviewing information.
It should be noted that Ruiz and Brown are in a dispute over $10,000 over wages not paid to the former live-in chef.
Brown will not be available tonight (Nov. 22) as the Bucs take on the New York Giants on “Monday Night Football.” He is still recovering from an ankle injury.
The Bucs have lost two games in a row and want to get back in the win column tonight and keep pace with the Los Angeles Rams and Dallas Cowboys.
Other athletes particularly in the NBA, MLB and NHL, are about to find themselves on front street with regard to vaccination status.
As of Jan. 15, 2022, Canada will no longer allow unvaccinated professional and amateur athletes to enter its borders.
Up until now Aaron Rodgers, Kyrie Irving, and now Antonio Brown have stolen the headlines as it relates to vaccination status. But this travel restriction will impact more athletes.
In the NBA, every team travels to Toronto to play the Raptors at least once. Some teams twice, and a few three times. New York City, San Francisco, and Los Angeles, where the Nets, Knicks, Warriors, Lakers and Clippers play, respectively, are the only U.S. cities with vaccine mandates.
Up until now the vaccination status of players on the league’s 25 other teams wasn’t part of a public story. Now, if any one of the players on these teams doesn’t make the trip and are listed on the health and safety protocol list, questions will come.
The NBA has said repeatedly that 95% of the league is vaccinated, so maybe this won’t be a problem.
In major league baseball, teams travel to Toronto to play the Blue Jays. In the NHL, seven of the 32 teams call Canada home.
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said only four players were unvaccinated. By the time baseball season rolls around perhaps that league will be majority vaccinated as well.
For those of you inclined not to trust these leagues reporting on themselves, the travel restriction will be an interesting test case.
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