NFLPA hopes to avoid prosecution of players who obtained and used fake vaccination cards

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Now that the NFL and NFL Players Association have jointly announced suspensions of three players for misrepresenting their vaccination status, the question becomes whether the federal government will get involved.

The relevant federal law imposes a punishment of up to five years in prison for buying, procuring, or using a counterfeit vaccination card, with knowledge that the card is fake. The key to the potential five-year sentence becomes the presence of the CDC label on the card.

So where does this fall on the priority list when it comes to utilizing federal prosecutorial resources? It’s likely something more serious than removing a mattress tag. It’s far less serious than robbing a bank. But it’s surely something the government doesn’t want people doing.

Regardless of whether the threat of prosecution is real, the NFL Players Association doesn’t want any of its constituents to find out. Per a source with knowledge of the union’s thinking on the matter, the 2021 COVID protocol specifically does not include a penalty for using a fake vaccination card in order to avoid creating a clear paper trail that a player receiving that punishment had a fake vaccination card. Likewise, the joint statement regarding Buccaneers receiver Antonio Brown, Buccaneers safety Mike Edwards, and free-agent receiver John Franklin III specifically was crafted to avoid saying that they’d used fake vaccination cards.

But, obviously, they did. And now Brown, Edwards, and Franklin will have to wonder whether they’ll hear from the FBI or the DOJ.

The smart move (then again, there’s been nothing smart about any of this) would be to say nothing. Brown’s attorney, Sean Burstyn, opted on Thursday to issue a statement insisting that Brown accepted his punishment “instead of going through the drawn out and distracting process of challenging the outcome.”

One day earlier, Brown appeared on the Richard Sherman podcast. Sherman suggested that Brown has received the vaccination and the booster shot and that the allegation of the fake vaccination card is false. Said Brown in response, “That’s the sad part. You know, the country say you’re innocent ’til proven guilty. But you’re guilty until you show innocence.”

As to Brown, the NFL decided after doing an investigation that he’s guilty. He opted to accept that outcome.

Maybe that’s enough to get the feds to not mess with him. Or maybe the NFL already has set the table for a prosecution that will allow the powers-that-be to send a powerful message to anyone with a fake card that there are very real consequences.

39 responses to “NFLPA hopes to avoid prosecution of players who obtained and used fake vaccination cards

  1. Antonio Brown should already be in prison.. only his privilege as an athlete has kept him out. Besides running great routes, being fast, having good hands and body control, he is contributing nothing of value to society. He drives at reckless speeds, he abuses women, he doesn’t pay his bills. Hopefully the government makes an example out of him, and like OJ he gets the prison time he deserves

  2. Antonio Brown may suffer mental issues. CTE is a strong possibility thanks to Vonteze Burfict.

  3. Keep covering for Antonio Brown and eventually someone is going to get killed. Some people think laws don’t apply to them, and I can understand that due to what we’ve been seeing lately. So you have to take responsibility for your actions, but good role models are underrated.

  4. Then the players’ association shouldn’t be complaining about player safety when it comes to Covid-19 protocols.

  5. Hopefully the Feds will want to know who is supplying fake vaccination cards! Prosecuting high visible people like Brown and Edwards would do a lot of good to deter others from doing so. Give them the maximum penalty and you show millions how serious this is. Prosecute them publicly!

  6. A lot of people have been supplying cover for Antonio Brown. It will be interesting to see if he’s going to cover for someone else, or is he going to throw them under the bus at the first sign of trouble? Should be interesting to watch this unfold.

  7. This will cement the fact that not only do the rules not apply to some players but that the league uses the rules just as selectively.

  8. Antonio Brown is a complete low-life dirtbag
    He does not deserve the freedom tha law-abiding citizens enjoy just because he can get open and catch a football.

  9. Antonio Brown and Richard Sherman discussing innocence until proven guilty. Now that’s a podcast worth listening to.

  10. That’s the biggest joke of a law that I’ve ever seen. It’s not any different from a teenager acquiring a fake id to buy alcohol. Meanwhile, politicians steal from people every single day, and no one bats an eye.

  11. Why isn’t Brady being implicated in this? Brown lives in his freaking house. There’s no way Brady didn’t know about it and probably masterminded the entire thing for brown because Brady most likely has a fake card too. Why isn’t this being brought up at all?

  12. Getoffmylawn! says:

    December 4, 2021 at 2:30 pm

    Hopefully the Feds will want to know who is supplying fake vaccination cards! Prosecuting high visible people like Brown and Edwards would do a lot of good to deter others from doing so. Give them the maximum penalty and you show millions how serious this is. Prosecute them publicly!

    —————–
    The problem is its likely 1 or the other not both. Either Brown and Edwards are prosecuted and its shown how serious it is to others or more likely they give information on who is supplying the cards for leniency.

  13. Brown is serving a two-year probation sentence after allegedly throwing rocks at a moving truck and refusing to cover the damage. Minor stuff by AB’s standard.
    But if the fed charge AB for the fake VAX card, AB could go to jail immediately .

  14. Faking a vax card creates undermines the whole system and puts others in danger. If these guys did that, please go after them.

    Please.

  15. If Brown or the Bucs have destroyed the card this seems like an uphill battle to prosecute. They’d be relying on getting in testimony from witnesses that saw the card over a handful of pretty well founded objections. Brown is a dope, but I doubt his lawyers are.

  16. “Why isn’t Brady being implicated in this? Brown lives in his freaking house.” Brady not only owns the Colts, he owns your mind.

  17. So people can loot in California nonstop if it’s under nine hundred dollars and good to go. Let’s not forget the zero bail policies letting bad people back on the streets. But yea, blow money to prosecute a few morons with fake cards?

  18. chicagolandcolts says:
    December 4, 2021 at 3:02 pm

    Why isn’t Brady being implicated in this? Brown lives in his freaking house. There’s no way Brady didn’t know about it and probably masterminded the entire thing for brown because Brady most likely has a fake card too. Why isn’t this being brought up at all?

    ************************

    Antonio Brown does not live in Brady’s house. Supposedly he stayed there for a little while over a year ago when he first joined the team and hadn’t gotten new digs yet.

    Your insistence that Brady “probably” masterminded “the entire thing” and “most likely” has a fake card too are pathetic. I know you’re extra salty after Brady spanked your Colts yet again, but c’mon man.

  19. This dude will be flat out broke within 5 years after he is out of the NFL.
    ————————————————-
    Actually, probably not…. He doesn’t believe in paying for anything, hence the current situation he’s now in….
    However, I do believe he will be in jail long before 5 years out of the league, partly for the same reason & of course being a lousy human being in general….

  20. The “whataboutisms” of whether this is more or less severe than another law, is irrelevant. He got caught breaking federal law, and it endangered the public. Prosecute, same as anyone else caught breaking federal law in the public. Robbing a bank is less dangerous then a lot of federal offenses. We still prosecute it.

  21. Can’t agree more with R. Eisen when he said that what AB did was reprehensible. Sounds like the NFL is no better. Bruce Arians? He should tell the team it is either him or Brown. But we all know he won’t.

    So exactly why did the NFL impose all these protocols?

    COVID isn’t going anywhere. Not when there is money to be made and championships to be won. And way way too many people in positions of power willing to play dumb.

    Put Bonds, Clemens, etc. into the HOF. Another sport where so many people in positions of power were willing to play dumb. After all, there was money to be made, championships to win.

    Was thrilled to see Brady, Bucs win SB but the Bucs have a lot to answer for now with these fake cards.

    Terrible organization if they keep Brown. But hey, the owners keep on paying Goodell millions to basically lie to cover their behinds.

    Freakin’ money grubbing cowards.

  22. We knew that player health was secondary to the business for the NFL. Now we know health is secondary to the NFLPA too.

  23. Tom Brady’s concussion water and snake oil guy Alex Guerrero was in the middle of AB Vaxcard mess.

  24. What is the argument for him not being prosecuted? The guy is on parole isn’t he? Jeez.

  25. My sister passed away from COVID in August. She was 47 and fully vaccinated. While I understand the vaccine is not fail safe it’s as much about protecting the people around you as it is about protecting yourself. Slowing transmission should be a goal for the individual , the family , the community and the country. Faking it is the ultimate slap in the face to your family community and country. These guys don’t care. Antonio Brown should be thrown out of the league, you should be able to function as a member of your community before anyone cares how well you play a game for other people’s entertainment. This is reprehensible.

  26. Long [many decades] ago unions protected workers from workplace exploitation.
    Enter the feds and the many laws protecting labor. [the U.S. Department of Labor enforces roughly 180 worker protection laws]
    No one envisaged 100 million dollar ’employees’ needing ‘protection’ from exploitation.
    For workplace issues, unions have now slipped into a protectionist stance: “whatever your transgression for the rules of your employment, we will maintain your innocence and work to prevent any consequences you might suffer for that alleged transgression.”
    So it goes for NFL players who use fake vax cards….

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