The New York Giants, having there cornerback Terrell Thomas possibly lost to a season-ending injury, suffered another hit to their defense as it was announced that safety Tyler Sash was suspended for the first four games of the season for violating the NFL policy on performance-enhancing substances. He must wait until after the Philadelphia Eagles game on September 30th to officially play; however, he is allowed to participate in all preseason practices and games.
In a post made on Twitter, Sash said that he took Adderall that was supposed to help him with public speaking this offseason. The backup safety said the following statement posted on his Twitter page, “I took a prescription drug (Adderall) legally under a doctor’s care for an anxiety condition during the offseason in March of this year. The purpose was to help me with public speaking appearances. I had no idea that this prescription drug was banned by NFL policy.” He added, “Although I take full responsibility for this situation, I also want to state that I have never cheated or taken performance-enhancing drugs, and I frown on those who do. I am highly disappointed by the league’s decision in this matter, but I will continue to do my best on and off the field.”
The situations involving Terrell Thomas and Tyler Sash have put the Giants in worry mode and might cause them to try and bring back veteran safety Deon Grant, who remains unsigned. Being that Grant played a pivotal role on the Giants’ defense the past two seasons as the team’s third safety, a reunion seems to make a lot of sense.
What’s interesting is that Tyler is the second player to be suspended by the NFL for performance-enhancing drugs. Running back Andre Brown was suspended by the league earlier this year for performance-enhancing drugs but Brown appealed and had his suspension cleared. Like Sash, Brown took Adderall, commonly prescribed for attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder.
According to Brown, the suspension came from a misunderstanding over paperwork. Sash’s agent, Jack Bechta, backed up his client’s explanation and also bashed the NFL’s rigid drug policy rules. In a statement read by Bechta, he said, “I am extremely disappointed with the league’s ruling pertaining to Tyler Sash’s suspension for testing positive for Adderall. As the policy stands right now there is little or no latitude for the league to interpret special circumstances as there was in this case and apply common sense for the obvious pure intentions of Tyler’s need for medical care.” He adds, “It is obvious from the timing of the positive test that Tyler’s intent was not to gain any advantage of performance enhancement as there are zero physical or competitive requirements of him for anything during the month of March.”
Despite the sincerity of Sash, Bechta’s argument is not the best in the world since athletes have been known to use performance enhancement drugs to bulk up during the offseason to bulk up, and then cycle down during the season in the hopes of avoiding being caught. Nevertheless, Bechta does have a point that NFL policy can be rigid as well as not being fair to the players.
Whether Sash appeals and wins or waits until the end of game 4 to officially start his season, he feels he has learned a painful lesson and will be more careful in the future. “From this point on, I will be more conscientious about every single thing I put in my body,” Sash said. “Once again, I want to reiterate that I have never been and will never be associated in any way with performance-enhancing drugs. The timing of this positive test was March 2012, a time during which there is no physical performance required of me.” “I hope this explanation reinforces my innocence and shows that my intentions were pure.”