I believe this story just because it’s Antonio Brown. Reported by Rick Stroud, Tampa Bay Times:
TAMPA — Bucs receiver Antonio Brown obtained a fake COVID-19 vaccination card so he could avoid NFL protocols, according to his former live-in chef.
Brown’s girlfriend, model Cydney Moreau, told Los Angeles chef Steven Ruiz in a text message July 2 that Brown was willing to pay $500 if he could get a Johnson & Johnson vaccination card.
“Can you get the COVID cards?” Moreau texted Ruiz on July 2, according to a screen grab he provided to the Tampa Bay Times.
“I can try,” Ruiz responded.
“JNJ shot. Ab said he would give you $500,” Moreau texted.
The text exchange between Moreau and Ruiz does not refer to Brown by name. The wide receiver is often called A.B. by friends, coaches and teammates.
Brown wanted the Johnson & Johnson vaccine card, Ruiz alleged, because it’s the only one that consists of a single shot and would require less paperwork.
Ruiz even provided the texts:
The wide receiver and his personal chef fell out over an uncollected debt. Ruiz, who owns Taste ThatLA, says he is owed $10,000. He spoke publicly for the first time about Brown after trying unsuccessfully to extract a settlement from the Super Bowl champion Bucs and after talks with Brown’s lawyer went nowhere.
Ruiz said he was unable back in July to find a fake vaccination card for Brown, who had told those around him that he was worried about the vaccine’s potential negative effects on his body. A few weeks later, however, Ruiz said Brown showed him fake vaccination cards, which the wide receiver told Ruiz he had purchased for himself and Moreau. They were sitting on Brown’s dining room table, Ruiz said. It was just days before the start of Bucs training camp.
Alex Guerrero, a personal trainer and co-founder of TB12 with Tom Brady, arrived at Brown’s house the same night to help the 33-year-old Pro Bowler recover from knee surgery. According to Ruiz, Guerrero took a photograph of Brown’s vaccination card while he was there.
To document the list of vaccinated players as quickly as possible, the Bucs would sometimes have Guerrero or others in the organization photograph the cards to send to head trainer Bobby Slater and eventually to their infection control officer.
Ruiz said he believes Guerrero was unaware the card was fake.
Now of course I must mention that AB’s lawyer is denying the story:
Brown’s lawyer, however, said in a statement Thursday afternoon to the Times that Brown is vaccinated.
“Antonio Brown appreciates the severity of the pandemic, which is why he got the vaccine and supports everyone for whom it is advisable to get the vaccine,” Sean Burstyn texted. “Coronavirus has hit close to home as it took him out of a game. He is healthy, vaccinated, and ready to win another Super Bowl.
“One of the worst parts of the pandemic has been a movement to cast doubt on our country’s vaccination programs with baseless, vindictive tabloid gossip.”
I will admit that from the details of the story, we know this guy Steven Ruiz does have an axe to grind with AB over the disputed $10,000. But that doesn’t make the story false.
As I said at the start, I totally believe AB has or would get a fake vaccine card. It just sounds like something AB would do. Not in any malicious way or anything, but in more of a funny, shenanigans/hijinks manner. An “AB being AB” kinda thing.
Stroud included even more information in his article about the disputed $10,000, and the text messages are absolutely hilarious. Classic Antonio Brown:
After the request to obtain fake cards, Ruiz said he was invited to move from Los Angeles. He lived at Brown’s South Tampa home for a month before renting his own place in Channelside in August.
Ruiz returned to Los Angeles on Sept. 9 after he said Brown became furious about an invoice submitted the day the Bucs opened the 2021 season against the Dallas Cowboys. Ruiz said the receiver still owes him $10,000.
The dispute is outlined on a screen grab of a series of texts starting that day from Brown to Ruiz.
“Paid u $46k bro no plan no me I appreciate your work the next tine for so much be detail and n on point appreciate the service,” according to Brown’s text to Ruiz.
“750 X 50 days = 45,000. Bro u been paid this ain’t been here for 50 days.”
But after the Bucs’ win over the Cowboys, in which Brown caught five passes for 121 yards, including a 47-yard touchdown, he sounded almost regretful that Ruiz had left.
“We come too far to turn back we doing something special chef counting on you want u be happy to be around if anything just talk to me about anything u feel champ get some off days let’s break bread trust God plan and continue to be great let god use us do something g bigger than us,” Brown texted in the early morning hours of Sept. 10, shortly after the Thursday night game had ended.
Ruiz said he believed hiring an attorney to sue Brown in civil court would probably cost more than he was owed.
AB really said “trust God’s plan” in a text message trying to get his ex-personal chef to come work for him again.
AB honestly cracks me up.
Apparently this dude Ruiz, instead of going to a lawyer to try to sue AB in civil court, went to a well-known Hollywood “fixer,” who then got in contact with the Bucs’ head of legal matters:
Ruiz reached out to Kevin Blatt, known for helping sell stories to the tabloids.
“I didn’t really have the money to hire an attorney,” Ruiz said. “Kevin is well-known for being a fixer in Los Angeles.”
Blatt, who works mostly as a media broker, released the Paris Hilton sex tape in 2003. Since then, Blatt has been credited with some of the biggest celebrity stories while working with ABC News, TMZ and the National Enquirer.
Blatt told the Times that he contacted Bucs chief legal officer Dan Malasky on his cell phone as he was eating lunch in California the week of Oct. 18, and they spoke for about 8 ½ minutes.
Blatt said he identified himself as a media broker, gave his name and encouraged Malasky to Google it. Blatt said he told Malasky that the Bucs have issues with fake COVID vaccination cards.
Blatt said he gave Malasky names of two players but did not mention Brown because he planned to contact the receiver’s attorney directly.
Now it gets interesting. 2 players with fake vax cards?
The article doesn’t make clear if Brown is one of the two players, or if it’s Brown and two additional players.
It’s really not hard to believe there would be more players than just AB with fake vax cards. The question is, how many of them are there? I’ll bet the NFL doesn’t even want to know, as it could end up blowing up into a huge scandal. The NFL 100% has to sweep this under the rug, or at least make it seem like AB is an isolated incident. What if they find out like half the league is using fake vax cards? It could threaten the whole season.
Personally, I’d bet money Tom Brady has a fake vax card. I am almost 100% sure of it.
There is no player in the league more obsessed with health and his own body than Tom Brady. The dude won’t even eat tomatoes (because they’re considered “nightshades”). He eats avocado ice cream. There is no way Tom Brady got the vaccine shot. I would bet money on it.
This story just shows you how easy it is to fake your vaccination status, though. I mean, you get a fake vax card, someone from the team training staff snaps a photo of it, sends it to the team’s head trainer, and that’s it.
It’s not like they’re administering these vaccine shots at the team facilities and the players line up one-by-one and get their shots in full view of the general manager and the head coach.
It would be so easy to fake it.
And AB would never have gotten caught if he had just paid his chef what he owes him.
You really wonder how many athletes are using fake vax cards.
Not that I really care or anything. It’s their business whether they want the vaccine or not. Personally, I don’t care one way or another whether a pro athlete is vaccinated.
I just think it’s funny that the NFL is touting its vaccination numbers, “We’re 90% vaccinated!” or whatever it is. Meanwhile in reality the number is probably way lower than that.