Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Antonio Brown, safety Mike Edwards, and free-agent wide receiver John Franklin III have been suspended for three games for violating COVID-19 Protocols. The NFL announced on Friday 12/3/21 that the suspensions will start immediately, without pay, for the two active Buccaneers players and immediately for free agent John Franklin III following any signing to a team. According to the NFL and NFLPA, all three players have agreed to discipline and waived their right to appeal the league’s decision. The NFLPA represented all three players during a joint NFL-NFLPA review of the allegations that the players had misrepresented their vaccination status under NFL and NFLPA protocols. The review supported the allegation and found that all three players were in violation.
Joint statement from the NFL and NFLPA:
“The health and safety of players and personnel is our top priority. The protocols were jointly developed working with our respective experts to ensure that we are practicing and playing football as safely as possible during the ongoing pandemic. The NFL-NFLPA jointly reinforce their commitment and further emphasize the importance of strict adherence to the protocols to protect the well-being of everyone associated with the NFL.”
Sean Burstyn, attorney for Antonio Brown, released the following statement on the veteran wide receiver’s behalf:
“The NFL made its determination and, instead of going through the drawn-out and distracting process of challenging the outcome, Mr. Brown wrapped this up promptly, and he will make the most of this time by treating his ankle injury. Mr. Brown will be motivated, well-rested, and in the best shape of his life when he returns in Week 16.”
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers released this statement:
“We appreciate the League’s timely handling of this matter and recognize the importance of the health and safety protocols that have been established. We will continue to implement all league COVID-19 protocols.”