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Bruce Arians insists as to the Antonio Brown fake vaccination card claim, “There is no story”

Bruce Arians tells Rich Eisen there's 'no story' on reports that Antonio Brown faked his vaccine card.

Buccaneers receiver Antonio Brown allegedly obtained and used a fake vaccination card. Buccaneers coach Bruce Arians on Friday tried to dismiss the story, both predictably and unfortunately.

“There is no story,” Arians told Rich Eisen. “Yeah, [Brown] says he’s vaccinated and has a card, just like everybody else on our football team. There’s a trust factor that goes along with it, and we did our due diligence on everybody. The league will look into the matter and do their due diligence, but it’s really no story.”

But why do the “due diligence” is there’s a “trust factor”? This comment from Arians further confirms the notion that the Buccaneers simply looked at the vaccination card, saw nothing that looked fishy, and didn’t bother to make a phone call to confirm that Brown received the vaccine on the date represented on the card, at the place represented on the card, from the lot number represented on the card.

Eisen also asked Arians whether he called Brown into the office to discuss the situation given the report.

“No, but somebody else did,” Arian said. It’s a contention that was made more confusing by the fact that Arians said a few words later, “I’ve asked him.”

“When a guy gives me the card, I’m good with it,” Arians added. “I don’t know how this story got going, other than somebody wanted some money.”

He’s right. Someone wanted some money. More specifically, chef Steve Ruiz wanted some money that he was owed by Brown, who stiffed him out of $10,000, allegedly.

Regardless, the nonchalance when it comes to accepting vaccination cards as true and correct reflects a fundamental misunderstanding of the very real temptation to falsify a card in order to secure the much more favorable protocols applicable to vaccinated players. Have players obtained fake cards? It would be shocking if they didn’t.

The situation comes down to one simple question, as addressed earlier in the day. Does the league and its teams truly care about the COVID protocols, or is it simply a matter of window dressing? It’s very easy to confirm the validity of vaccination cards. Why would Arians or any other coach or any other team blindly trust the accuracy and truthfulness of a vaccination card, when the document could be so easily forged or falsified -- and when the benefits of pretending to be vaccinated are so significant?

Indeed, Arians’s admission that “there’s a trust factor” and that “when a guy gives me the card, I’m good with it” highlights the reality that the cards could indeed be falsified and that Arians and the Buccaneers inexplicably chose not to apply a natural dose of suspicion to the natural temptation for those who didn’t want to get vaccinated to lie about getting a dose, or two, of the formula.