The Buccaneers declined to provide a comment to Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times regarding his report detailing allegations that receiver Antonio Brown attempted to procure, and ultimately did obtain, a fake vaccination card. Following the publication of Stroud’s report, the Buccaneers issued a statement.
“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 contends. “All vaccination cards were reviewed by Buccaneers personnel and no irregularities were observed.”
It’s one thing for irregularities to be observed. It’s quite another for the vaccination cards to be genuine and authentic. The cards don’t include holograms or watermarks or embedded fibers or other devices aimed at making the creation of a fake one impossible.
As one league source explained it to PFT, it’s not difficult to confirm the veracity of a card, even if there are no apparent irregularities on the surface of it. A phone call to the pharmacy or other provider of the shot plus confirmation of the lot number would be simple and easy to accomplish.
Per the NFL, the club verifies the card and then submits information to a league portal with the individual’s name, date of the vaccination, and which of the three vaccines was administered. The league doesn’t get the card itself, and the club isn’t required to keep it.
The real question is whether the team, in verifying the card, contacted the pharmacy and confirmed that the player received a shot from the designated lot number. Now, the question is whether the league or the team would be able to retrieve the vaccination card from the player, so that the phone call can be made to confirm whether Brown received a dose from the designated lot number at the designated pharmacy.
If the call can be made now and if the information can’t be corroborated, the Bucs and Browns are, as the source put it, “screwed.”