Why Did Antonio Brown Get Suspended For Misrepresenting Vax Status And Not Aaron Rodgers?

Syndication: The Post-Crescent
Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) smiles while talking to head coach Matt LaFleur during a timeout in the fourth quarter during their football game Sunday, November 28, 2021, at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wis. Dan Powers/USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin Apc Packvsrams 1128211578djp

It’s actually a great question. Why is it that Aaron Rodgers was not suspended for misrepresenting his vaccination status but Antonio Brown was?

The short answer is that the league, the Green Bay Packers and some of Rodgers teammates reportedly knew that Rodgers did not take the vaccine and had instead used alternative techniques to boost his immunity. When Rodgers was asked by a reporter whether he had taken the vaccine he replied by saying he was “immunized.” Clearly this was misleading to the public, but not necessarily the league.

Rodgers and the Packers were fined earlier this month. Specifically, Rodgers was fined a little over $14,000 for not following COVID protocols by attending a Halloween party featuring a group of more than three people. The team was fined $300,000 dollars and both Rodgers and the team warned that future violations would lead to escalated discipline.

The difference between Brown and Rodgers is that the Packers, the NFL and the players’ union have been aware of Rodgers’ status since July. He is allowed to be unvaccinated as long as he follows protocols. He was fined for not following all protocols and accused of being misleading to the public but not accused of misrepresenting his status to the league and pretending to be vaccinated when he was not.

However, the allegations against Brown are that he presented a fake vaccination card to his team, allegedly representing to the league and his team that he was vaccinated.

Earlier this month, his former live-in chef claimed to the Tampa Bay Times that Brown’s girlfriend asked him to get Brown a fake vaccine card in exchange for $500. The chef said he did not do so but claimed that Brown later showed him a fake card he had allegedly acquired on his own. Brown denied this allegation through his attorney and the Bucs said all cards were submitted to the team and no irregularities were noticed.

Following the allegations against Brown, League of Justice became the first and only media outlet to report that the allegation could be part of a larger alleged “Vaxgate” scheme by multiple players. Pro Football Network NFL Insider Adam Beasley had tweeted that there were longstanding rumors in football circles in Florida, confirmed by a league source, that Brown had allegedly offered to put other players in touch with his fake vax card supplier. League of Justice questioned why this wasn’t being investigated by the league especially in light of the huge controversy and press surrounding Rodgers. Surely, the allegation that Brown submitted a fake card and may have helped other players get one, would be of interest to the league, considering its strong health and safety protocols. Were there multiple players duping the league with fake cards?

Apparently, the league took notice of the allegations against Brown circulating in the media and quietly investigated. Today it announced three game suspensions for Brown and teammate DB Mike Edwards as well as a third player, free agent cornerback John Franklin III. The league found that the players misrepresented their vaccine status but did not give further details.

Brown’s attorney denied the allegations but claimed that Brown did not want to challenge the outcome:

“Mr. Brown is vaccinated and continues to support the vaccine for any person for whom it is appropriate. 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, and well rested, and in the best shape of his life when he returns in week 16.” 

Meanwhile, now social media is abuzz asking why Rodgers was never suspended. It all comes down to how the players represented their status to the league and not just the public.

Appearing on The Pat McAfee Show, Rodgers again claimed that even though he claimed to be “immunized” at the presser, he had followed almost all protocols for unvaccinated players including daily testing and mask wearing when required and been upfront with the league. He did not however wear a mask at press conferences. He said he didn’t feel it was necessary.

Rodgers also claimed on the show that he is allergic to an ingredient in the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines. He did treatments to improve his immunity and appealed to the NFL for the league to qualify him as vaccinated due to those treatments, including presenting stacks of research, but lost.

Defending his statements in the presser, which many have called lies, Rodgers said this:

“First of all, I didn’t lie in the initial press conference. During that time, it was a witch hunt that was going on across the league, where everybody in the media was so concerned about who was vaccinated and who wasn’t and what that meant and who was being selfish and who would talk about it, what it meant if they said it’s a personal decision and they shouldn’t have to disclose their own medical information…And at the time, my plan was to say that I have been immunized. It wasn’t some sort of ruse or lie. It was the truth, and I’ll get into the whole immunization in a second. But had there been a follow-up to my statement that I’ve been immunized, I would have responded with this: I would have said, ‘Look, I’m not some sort of anti-vax, flat-Earther. I am somebody who’s a critical thinker.'”

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