[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Revenge is a dish best served cold.

It’s an old saying, but the sentiment holds up well, especially in today’s hostile and contentious culture.

According to a report in the Tampa Bay Times this week, Buccaneers wide receiver Antonio Brown allegedly purchased a fake COVID-19 vaccination card.

If it’s true, shame on Brown. If the allegations are not true, shame on Steven Ruiz and Kevin Blatt (we’ll get to him in a moment).

Who? Steven Ruiz. He is Brown’s former live-in chef. Believe it or not, that is important.

Ruiz claims Brown owes him $10,000.

Because Brown has allegedly not settled the debt, Ruiz decided the best way to get his money would be extortion.

According to the Times, Ruiz contacted Kevin Blatt, a tabloid journalist tied to the release of the infamous Paris Hilton sex tape nearly two decades ago.

Ruiz told Blatt that Antonio Brown asked him to “find a fake vaccination card … a few weeks later, Ruiz said Brown showed him fake vaccination cards …” Brown said he purchased the cards himself.

Blatt told the Times that he contacted Dan Malasky, the chief legal officer for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

“I told him I found the guy very credible and I believe his story and I’ve seen some evidence firsthand. I told him to let me know what they wanted me to do or if they thought we could come to some resolution.”

We? As in Blatt and Ruiz being “we?” That sounds like some form of partnership, or representation.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_column_text]


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[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]The Times reports that Blatt saying he did not make any financial demands “to make the story disappear.”

“Hell no, that’s extortion,” Blatt said.

Yes, it would be extortion – and still may be when this is all said and done. Don’t let the subtle nuancing of language confuse you. Blatt is smart enough to not make financial demands to settle the debt. He knows, admittedly, that is extortion. It is illegal. The knowledge and evidence are unspoken negotiating tactics – a loophole, if you will – around any conversation of dollars and cents. Slick work, Mr. Blatt.

For the record: This is the second such known circumstance that Brown has been accused of not paying for services. His reputation precedes him.

There are still a lot of unknowns about this story.

  • Why would Steven Ruiz contact “a fixer” to resolve the issue?
  • Does Ruiz’ actions constitute extortion under the letter of the law?
  • Does asking an infamous “media broker” sound like a sincere approach to resolving the matter?
  • According to Blatt, the only request is for Brown to pay the debt. Why would a third party who claims to have no financial incentive/motivation call the Buccaneers legal rep and discuss how best to resolve the matter?
  • Is Steven Ruiz being honest? He admittedly attempted to find and purchase illegal vaccination cards? He attempted to recover an unpaid debt using, er, blackmail or extortion or whatever you’d like to call it.
  • Is Antonio Brown being honest? His public history is checkered.

Someone is not telling the truth about the COVID vaccination cards.

The plot thickens.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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About the author

John Strubel

Hi. My name is John Strubel. Thanks for visiting my website. I write primarily about my passion: baseball. In addition, I occasionally publish posts and podcasts related to sports media, journalism and technology impacting the industry. You can also connect with me on social media @johnstrubel.

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