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NFLPA should demand that NFL investigate all rosters for fake vaccination cards

Mike Florio and Chris Simms discuss if and how the NFL will prevent players from using fake vaccine cards in the future after several Bucs players got busted.

The NFL, by all appearances, has no inclination to aggressively investigate whether teams other than the Buccaneers have an issue with fake vaccination cards. The NFL Players Association has a voice in this dynamic -- and to date the NFLPA hasn’t used it.

The union that represents all players finds itself in a tough spot. On one hand, it needs to protect the interests of players who may eventually be accused of using fake vaccination cards. On the other hand, the NFLPA needs to protect the interests of players who are legitimately vaccinated and who are exposed to players lying about their vaccination status. The harder the NFLPA pushes on behalf of one group, the more it infringes on the rights of the other.

Still, given that the COVID protocols were crafted jointly by the league and the union, the union presumably has a clear interest in ensuring their integrity. If players are lying about whether they’ve been vaccinated, that’s not just an affront against the NFL but an insult to the union, too. It therefore would make sense for the NFLPA to state in a loud, clear voice that it wants the NFL to aggressively investigate the possibility that fake vaccination cards were used by one or more players with one or more of the other 31 teams.

It would be a shock if they weren’t. The Antonio Brown/Mike Edwards fake cards fell into the NFL’s lap, because Brown was dumb enough to piss off someone who knew that he’d gotten a fake card. Other players with other teams likely haven’t left themselves exposed to such an outcome.

But that’s not compelling the league, or the union, to search proactively for fake cards -- even though this means that unvaccinated players are masquerading as vaccinated, and in turn enjoying the benefits of being vaccinated. While also putting the legitimately vaccinated players, staff, and their family members at risk of infection.

The league has instead crafted an illogical test for justifying a decision not to vet the vaccination cards of those who were vaccinated away from team facilities. Because the rate of positive COVID results for those vaccinated at the team facilities and away from them is no different, the league is presuming conclusively that it has no problem.

That, in itself, is a huge problem. And it’s fair to conclude that the league doesn’t care about finding more fake cards. It’s also fair to conclude that the union doesn’t, either.

As a result, none will be found unless another player behaves as stupidly as Brown did. Which means that the league should be investigating the vaccination cards of those players who got vaccinated away from team facilities. And the NFLPA should be demanding that it happen.