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TAMPA, Fla. Buccaneer coach Bruce Arians said Friday he believes the NFL should look into other teams after two of his players – Antonio Brown and Mike Edwards – and a former player, John Franklin III, were found to have handed out fake vaccination cards .
“We’ve done everything. There’s a lot more to that story. I just hope they do not stop looking,” said Arians, who two weeks ago said he had no reason to believe Brown or any player falsified their vaccination status.
But an NFL investigation revealed that the three players presented the team with fake vaccination cards, resulting in a three-game suspension. Carrying a fake vaccine card is also considered a federal crime and can be punished with up to five years in prison.
When asked if he thinks there are other problems throughout the league, he said, “Maybe.”
The NFL told ESPN on Thursday that there are no plans to change how teams collect and vet vaccination cards. One big reason for this is because of the 94.5% of players vaccinated, 80% were vaccinated at team facilities, according to league spokesman Brian McCarthy, minimizing the potential risk of counterfeiting. The NFL will continue to rely on teams to inspect vaccine cards.
The NFL did not impose a fine on the Buccaneers, unlike previous team COVID-19 violations, such as a $ 500,000 fine issued against the Las Vegas Raiders last year or a $ 300,000 fine on the Green Bay Packers recently, believing they was also misled about the players’ vaccination status, a source told ESPN.
Arians also defended his team’s handling of the virus.
“In the last two years I do not know if there has been a team better for COVID than we have been. This is a setback because of what happened. But we have done a fantastic job and even when the boys “We’ve never had an outburst in a vacancy. So I’m very happy with that part.”
He expressed anger over the players’ decisions after the team worked hard to keep the virus out of the building. The team’s mantra throughout last season was “beat the virus,” and the organization has long credited its approach to dealing with the virus as a key reason Tampa Bay won the Super Bowl.
They were even praised by President Joe Biden during a ceremony in the White House this summer for their approach to dealing with the virus, which included vaccinating 200,000 members of the community.
“It makes me angry,” Arians said. “But that’s what it is.”
Arians said the team will treat both Brown and Edwards as injured players and will not address their respective futures with the team until they return. Brown has an ankle injury that will keep him out for at least another two weeks, sources told ESPN. Edwards is dealing with a knee injury.