The Tampa Bay Times reports Brown’s former live-in chef, Steven Ruiz, has alleged that Brown’s girlfriend offered to pay him to acquire a fake Johnson & Johnson vaccination card for the former All-Pro wideout. According to Ruiz, who also provided an alleged screenshot of texts detailing his exchange with Brown’s girlfriend, Brown specifically requested the Johnson & Johnson vaccination card due to the Johnson & Johnson COVID vaccine being a single-shot dose and resulting in less paperwork.
EXCLUSIVE: Bucs receiver Antonio Brown obtained a fake COVID-19 vaccination card to avoid NFL protocols, according to his former live-in chef.
— Tampa Bay Times (@TB_Times) November 18, 2021
Ruiz says he put Brown on blast due to Brown owing him and his food company $10,000 for unpaid services, prompting him to reach out to Kevin Blatt—the celebrity scandal expert infamous for selling stories to tabloids and credited as the man behind the release of Paris Hilton’s sex tape in 2003. After receiving the information regarding Brown, Blatt allegedly contacted the Buccaneers’ chief legal officer Dan Malasky to relay his knowledge of Brown’s alleged false vaccination status.
On Thursday afternoon (Nov. 18), the Buccaneers shared a statement in response to the report and claimed no irregularities were observed in regards to Brown’s Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccination card.
“After an extensive educational process conducted throughout our organization this past offseason highlighting the benefits of the COVID-19 vaccines, we received completed vaccination cards from all Tampa Bay Buccaneers players and submitted the required information to the NFL through the established process in accordance with league policy,” reads the statement. “All vaccination cards were reviewed by Buccaneers personnel and no irregularities were observed.”
Prior to the Tampa Bay Times‘ report, Brown had already been forced to sit out one regular-season game due after contracting COVID-19 in September.