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Does the NFL care about the potential problem of fake vaccination cards?

Mike Florio and Peter King discuss rumors that Antonio Brown submitted a fake vaccination card and whether the NFL is willing to risk an investigation that could lead to widespread suspensions.

The NFL is notoriously reactive, not proactive. The enforcement, or lack thereof, of the league’s COVID protocols becomes the latest example of this reality.

Consider the Aaron Rodgers situation. The league knew that he wasn’t vaccinated, and the league knew that he was repeatedly violating protocol by showing up for indoor press conferences without a mask. And the league did nothing. If Rodgers hadn’t tested positive 16 days ago, he’d still be showing up for indoor press conferences without a mask, and his protocol violations arising from unauthorized parties and gatherings would be happening without incident.

Now that the long-simmer suspicions regarding fake vaccination cards have reached full boil, the NFL will take action, because it has to. Still, the NFL knew or should have known that players potentially supplied fake vaccination cards. It’s too easy to forge one. It’s also extremely easy to prove that a card is fake.

As explained last night, a phone call to the provider of the vaccination would confirm or debunk the information supplied regarding name of patient, date of injection(s), and lot number. Those calls already should have been made, by every team as to every vaccination card. Now that the league is clearly and obviously on notice about the reality of fake vaccination cards, those calls should be made.

And not by the teams. They’ve had a full and fair chance to handle the issue properly. At this point, the league should insist that images of all vaccination cards be surrendered by the teams, so that the league can commence the process of confirming the veracity, or not, of every single vaccination card.

It will take time. It will take effort. It may require spending the money to engage an outside firm that will make the calls, or that will provide temporary workers to do the job. Regardless, if the NFL truly cares about the issue, the NFL will do it.

The inverse is also true. If the NFL doesn’t care about the potential problem of fake vaccination cards, it won’t do it. It will do the bare minimum or perhaps nothing at all. At most, it will hammer Antonio Brown, if it turns out that the vaccination card he showed to the team in July was fake.

Here’s the reality. If it’s a major scandal entailing, say, dozens of fake cards or more, the NFL won’t want to admit that it allowed the situation to arise. Thus, the league won’t do whatever it has to do to get to the bottom of the situation. The more fake cards the NFL finds, the worse the NFL will look for allowing cards to be faked -- and for not taking action long before the first report surfaced of a player actually having a fake card.