Coughlin: NFL should apply “common sense” in Tyler Sash case


Giants safety Tyler Sash has been suspended four games for violating the league’s policy on performance-enhancing drugs, but Sash says he did nothing more than take the medication Adderall under a doctor’s supervision. As a result, Giants coach Tom Coughlin thinks the NFL should give Sash a break.

This kid really had no intention of doing anything that was illegal. I know what the definition of the rule is, and I understand all about that; I’ve been there myself . . . but you have to ask yourself, sometimes common sense needs to be involved,” Coughlin said.

Coughlin said Sash is a hard-working player and a good young man who doesn’t deserve to miss four games for an honest mistake.

“I feel bad for the kid,” Coughlin said. “He is a heart-and-soul football player; he takes everything that he has and puts it into the game. He loves to play. We used him in a very, very important role last year as a rookie, fullback on the punt team. So there’s no issue with this young man. He doesn’t need any watchdog over him. Ignorance is no excuse of the law, I understand; but he knows what is expected and he does it.”

Coughlin is right that something doesn’t quite add up with the way the NFL has disciplined players who have said they tested positive for Adderall. The league lifted Giants running back Andre Brown’s suspension completely and reduced the suspension of Texans punter Brett Hartmann but will apparently force Sash to miss four games, even though all three players say they took the same prescription medication. The NFL ought to clarify the matter, but the confidentiality of the drug policy means it won’t.

And that means Coughlin and others will continue to look at the NFL’s prohibition of Adderall and say that it’s lacking in common sense.

30 responses to “Coughlin: NFL should apply “common sense” in Tyler Sash case

  1. So according to Coughlin, you should be able to take any banned substance under a Dr’s supervision?

    It’s clear the other cases unfolded differently, leading to this suspension being upheld.

  2. Guess he needs to defend his players, but I don’t believe that it was adderall. In the other cases, yes, and the NFL applied common sense. Here, I’m just not buying it. And that is from a Giants fan.

  3. How many times do we here that same excuse. Well it’s your job to know what your putting into your body. Learn from it and move in.

  4. LoCoSu@%s says:
    So Coughlin wants one rule for Giants and another for everyone else?

    That seems fair.
    Everyone knows that the Giants are a model franchise and that their owners, the Maras, are simply wonderful human beings.

  5. saintsfan26 says: Aug 1, 2012 6:29 PM

    Good luck with that, Tom. Goodell didn’t use common sense when your players targeted Kyle Williams head, and he ain’t gonna use it now.

    Funny, though, that not ONCE in the NFCCG was Kyle Williams hit in the head. But hey, saintsfan, don’t let logic or the facts get in the way of your whining. Giants didn’t treat Williams like your boys treated Favre. At least the Giants championship won’t be forever tainted.

  6. For the 1000th time, they did not reduce the suspension for Brett Hartman. The NFLPA forced the NFL to count the Ravens playoff game in the suspension, sense it was a higher pay rate than he would regularly recieve.

  7. saintsfan26 says: Aug 1, 2012 6:29 PM

    Good luck with that, Tom. Goodell didn’t use common sense when your players targeted Kyle Williams head, and he ain’t gonna use it now.

    A Saints fan angrily remarking on another team targeting players…


    Do you need an explanation?

  8. So… the NFL drug policy supercedes a medical doctor’s prescription? That seems not only arrogant, but illegal. Quite honestly, why wouldn’t each case be looked at separately. I want a clean game as much as the next guy, but you can’t but football rules ahead of medical rules. I’m sure the doctor knows what he is doing.

  9. For the record, the confidentiality agreement states that the CAN’T discuss the details not WON’T as your article reads. Just another way to try to paint the NFL as this shady abhorrent entity. Nice try

  10. I see Coughlin’s point. A natural public speaker like T.O. would not seek out treatment for his shortcomings in addressing the public. We therefore find ourselves at a place where a-holes are treated more favorably than totally decent football players, because of dumb rules that obscure the light of day.

  11. The players are told by the league to clear prescriptions before taking them. I’m sure teams tell players to clear prescriptions before taking them. And still guys take drugs without just letting the league know. Who’s at fault? When your boss says Just let me know, and you don’t let him know, is it the bosses’ fault?

    Brandon Spikes served four games for an ADD drug – he didn’t whine about it. And Belichick didn’t whine about it.

  12. I have a tremendous amount of respect for coach C., and I expected him to stand up for his player. When one looks at the situation however, it makes sense to stick with the penalty. There have been several prior cases when this drug caused problems, there is a published list of banned substances available to players, and lastly, Sash’s entire career centers around his body, and this includes ANYTHING he ingests. Dr.’s script or not, the decision to take a medication is the player’s choice, and along with it, assumption of the ensuing consequences. On the other hand, the league should clarify policies and administer the penalties uniformly in a consistent manner.

  13. I guess I don’t understand this rule. I take adderall and it definitely makes me less hungry and also dehydrates me. This is 100% truth.

    Doesn’t seem like a football performance enhancer for me in any sense of reality outside of a 5 minute peak. It Definitely is in the classroom though. If they report it to the NFL is it then OK???? Confusing sh**… Nib High Football Rules!!

  14. You hate to have people in the NFL trying to get their heads in the right place with legally prescribed medicines, keeping them crazy makes for better press.

  15. When it’s March and football operations are not going on, it may be tougher to confer with a coach or trainer than let’s say during OTA’s or training camp. Especially in the case of Sash, who was prescribed the Adderall for speaking engagements. It’s still ultimately on the player to know what it is he’s putting into his body, but this was in no way shape or form an attempt at “performance enhancement”, at least not on the field of play. Sash is not a highly paid player, and missing 4 games is taking a large sum of cash away from him. The penalty is too severe, but I guess every guy always needs new suits, including Goodell.

  16. Tom Tom Tom – you and your staff all know that if you take something and you get tested you will get suspended. Why didnt your staff tell this guy the night that he was selected that he needs to get anything that he gets prescribed checked out with the league ( along with the usual caveats about drinking and driving, steroids, maryjane etc etc). Dont blame the league blame the player, his agent and your staff for not doing their job.

    PS – what a crock of an excuse getting a serious drug like adderall for public speaking anxiety – we all know it was so that he could focus better on learning the playbook.

  17. The NFL and Goodell has no choice but to be consistent when the policy is clear.

    Why? Well a case in point, is the Saints bounty investigation. No precedent or policy to rely on there. When the NFL applied an arbitrary decision using their own judgment based on their understanding of the facts, allegations of “heavy handedness” and “witch hunt” ensued. The matter ends up in court with Drew Brees, Jonathan Vilma, and the NFLPA up it’s rear end.

    Much easier for the NFL to simply point to the rules on banned substances, and not deal with having their motives or “common sense” put on trial by those who don’t like the outcome. If they were to arbitrarily let Sash off the hook, five minutes later, Cowboys and Eagles fans would be coming out of the woodwork alleging New York bias. There’s no question about that.

  18. This player can’t be too bright. There has been many suspensions for not cleared with the league use of this drug recently; how could he have not heard about it by now. I’m pretty sure the teams bring it up to the players. Even if a player isn’t that smart, all he has to do at each of his appointment is bring the list of banned substances with him. Then, he tells the doctor to avoid giving prescriptions with them or if that’s not possible, let him clear it with the league. Next, have the doctor go through his current prescription list and see if anything he is on has any of the substances in them. It’s so easy; there is no excuse.

  19. Using the excuse that “the doctor prescribed it to me” doesn’t work for impaired drivers, so why should it be any different when the rules are set in stone for the league? Playing in the NFL is a privelige…not a right.

  20. common sense ! if i were a pro player making millions i would get a list of banned substances and make damn sure my doc knew what was on there before i took anything. common sense sometimes isn’t very common.

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