Tampa Bay Buccaneer Antonio Brown was reportedly interested in paying his personal chef $ 500 for a fake COVID-19 vaccination card so he could bypass the league’s awkward rules for unvaccinated players.
Brown’s friend texted Los Angeles-based chef Steven Ruiz on July 2 asking for a forged card – a violation of federal law
‘Can you get the COVID cards?’ asked model Cydney Moreau. “I can try,” said Ruiz.
“JNJ shot. Ab said he would give you $ 500, ”added Moreau, expressing his preference for a card claiming Brown received the Johnson & Johnson one-shot vaccine.
Ruiz provided the text exchange to the Tampa Bay Times, which checked phone numbers after he argued with the NFL player over an unpaid debt of $ 10,000.
The Bucs say Brown’s card passed the pattern and has no irregularities. However, the player faced numerous lawsuits for failing to pay his staff.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Antonio Brown, above, tried to get fake vaccination cards from his cook on Nov. 8 before buying them elsewhere, the cook claims
Antonio Ruiz shared the story with the Tampa Bay Times after he argued with Brown over a $ 10,000 debt
It is illegal to forge a federal agency seal. COVID-19 vaccination cards are sealed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, Georgia
Ruiz says he brought the story after unsuccessfully trying to reach an agreement with Brown, 33, and his attorney on unpaid fees for his services
The chef, who owns the Taste ThatLA catering service and once lived in Brown’s house, says he didn’t get a fake card for the wide receiver.
Brown allegedly told people around him that he was concerned about the potential effects of the vaccine on his body, reports the Tampa Bay Times.
He missed a game this season after contracting COVID-19 and had to endure the same 10-day wait as unvaccinated players – which calls into question his real vaccination status. (Vaccinated players can return to work if they are asymptomatic and test negative twice every 24 hours.)
The athlete eventually bought another set of fake cards for him and his girlfriend, which he showed to Ruiz when they were at Brown’s dining table days before the start of Bucs training camp, Ruiz says.
It is a violation of federal law to use the seal of a US government agency, in this case the Centers for Disease Control. Violators face up to five years imprisonment according to the WGRZ.
Ruiz says personal trainer Alex Guerrero arrived at the house and took a picture of the card without knowing it was a fake to be sent to the Bucs.
Brown’s attorney Sean Burstyn insists that Brown has been vaccinated.
“Antonio Brown appreciates the severity of the pandemic, which is why he got the vaccine and supports those who are advised to get the vaccine,” Burstyn told the Times.
“Coronavirus got near his home when it took him out of a game. He’s healthy, vaccinated, and ready to win another Super Bowl. ‘
According to NBC Sports, the NFL does not require players to be vaccinated, but the league has set rules for teams with unvaccinated players to punish them and the opposing teams to be fined heavily for losing games due to outbreaks.
Brown, 33, was reportedly concerned about the possible negative effects the vaccines could have on his body
Ruiz says Brown’s girlfriend, model Cydney Moreau, texted Ruiz about the cards
“JNJ shot. Ab said he would give you $ 500, ”Moreau wrote. Above, Moreau with rapper Nicky Jam and actor Will Smith at the Bad Boys for Life premiere in Miami in January 2020
Ruiz hired media fixer Kevin Blatt to solve the problem of Brown’s alleged debt.
“Paid you $ 46,000 brother, no plan, no, I appreciate your work in the next minute for so much detail and appreciate the service to the point,” Brown wrote in a message to Ruiz.
‘750 x 50 days = 45,000. Brother, you got paid, this hasn’t been here in 50 days. ‘
He sounded remorseful after winning a game against the Dalls Cowboys that season.
“We’re getting too far to turn back, we’re doing something special. Chef counting on you to be happy to be there when something just talk to me about anything you feel, to have a few days off as a champion Let’s do that Break Bread, Trust God’s Plan, and Stay Great Let’s “God use us to do something greater than us,” wrote Brown Ruiz on September 10th.
The Bucs say there are “no irregularities” in the vaccination cards used by Brown and his other players
By 2019, Brown had made more than $ 69 million before taxes in his NFL career, according to Sports Illustrated. He currently has a one-year contract with the Bucaneers worth a total of $ 3.1 million, according to spotrac.com, which tracks players’ contracts.
“I didn’t really have the money to hire a lawyer,” Chef Ruiz told the Times.
“Kevin is known as a fixer in Los Angeles.”
Blatt called Bucs’ chief legal officer, Dan Malasky, last month to tell him he was having problems with forged vaccination cards for good reason.
“I won’t reveal my sources,” said Blatt.
“But I told him I found the guy very believable and I believe in his story and I’ve seen some firsthand evidence. I told him to let me know what they wanted from me or if they thought we could come to a solution. ‘
Blatt said he did not ask for any money. After speaking with the Bucs attorney, Brown’s attorney called Ruiz the cook and asked how much he wanted to sort the matter out.
NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy told the Tampa Bay Times that the teams were responsible for checking the vaccination status of their own staff and players, but that the league was “in contact with the club” and “will look into the matter.”
Brown was interested in paying up to $ 500 for a counterfeit card that appears to have received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, according to text messages confirmed by the Tampa Bay Times
The team says, “After an extensive training process conducted across our organization this past off-season that highlighted the benefits of COVID-19 vaccines, we received vaccination cards from all Tampa Bay Buccaneers players and provided us with the required information about the established process to the NFL according to league policy.
“All vaccination cards were checked by Buccaneers staff and no irregularities were found.”
Brown has a long history of legal troubles.
He was charged with sexual assault and rape by Brittany Taylor, a former college friend of Central Michigan University and his personal trainer.
Taylor sued Brown in September 2019.
Brown has fought at least half a dozen lawsuits for failing to pay former employees. He has also been charged twice with sexual misconduct. He has settled a civil lawsuit alleging rape this year
The couple settled the lawsuit on Wednesday, with Brown’s attorney Burstyn saying they “got tired of the fighting,” according to the New York Times.
Brown was accused of sexual misconduct by another woman in September 2019, according to a Sports Illustrated profile.
“In half a dozen cases, he is accused of refusing to pay wages to former assistants and part-time workers. Court documents and interviews also suggest disturbing, sometimes bizarre behavior – including, as SI learned, Brown’s allegations of sexual misconduct by a second woman, “the magazine said.
The woman, an artist, claimed Brown came up to her and started talking to her while covering his penis with a towel while she was painting a mural in his house.
In January 2020, Brown was accused of assaulting a truck driver in Hollywood, Florida. The driver said Brown got violent because he didn’t want to pay him.
The soccer player was eventually charged with multiple criminal offenses, including burglary and assault.
A civil suit by the driver is pending.
Brown began his career with the Pittsburgh Steelers from 2010 to 2018. He had a brief stint with the Oakland Raiders but was fired after a confrontation with the team manager.
He was struck out by the New England Patriots after playing just one game. He joined the Bucs last year and won the Super Bowl in February.