Former New York Mets outfielder Darryl Strawberry has made public plea to former teammate Doc Gooden: Get help now before your addiction kills you. Furthemore, Strawberry says he’s done covering for Gooden like he said he did during the taping of their recent 30 for 30 ESPN documentary.
Strawberry told Jim Baumbach of Newsday that he knew Gooden was dealing with a drug problem during the taping of ESPN’s “Doc & Darryl” documentary, but covered for the former pitcher.
Strawberry also took the opportunity to express his concern about Gooden. Baumbach compiled Strawberry’s statement through a series of tweets. Strawberry’s complete statement read:
There’s no more Doc and Darryl. People need to look and separate Doc from me. I’m at a different place in my life. It doesn’t make me better than him. But I’m in a whole different place in my life. Everyone is always try to link Doc & Darryl. No. Doc is in a bad situation in his life with addiction. I’ve been there. I’ve gotten out of it. He can get out of it too if he allows people to help him.”
Gooden responded to those accusations Monday, telling the Daily News he is not currently using drugs.
“I am healthy. I don’t have a drug problem. I mean, I am an addict … that don’t mean I’m an active addict,” he said.
Gooden also took a shot at Strawberry’s character, calling the former outfielder “counterfeit.”
“Unfortunately it’s no friendship (and) bad judgment on my part thinking it was,” Gooden, 51, told The News. “(Never) once lied or said anything negative about him to the media, but teammates and people who really know us (know) who’s real and who’s counterfeit.”
It’s the latest turn in a public saga between the two ex-Mets stars, who have been both dealt with addiction in the past. In this case, Strawberry seems to handing out some tough love to Gooden through a series of interviews.
Gooden’s condition first came under fire following his appearance in the ESPN documentary. The documentary covered the careers of the two men, and the addiction issues both dealt with as players.
Because of the program, the two former teammates had been making scheduled interview appearances. Gooden missed one of those events Thursday, prompting Strawberry to wonder about his health. Gooden seemed offended by those accusations, telling the Daily News that Strawberry’s concerns were “unreal.”
That seemed to set Strawberry over the edge. On Sunday, Strawberry told John Harper of the New York Daily News that Gooden is a “complete junkie-addict,” and feels he needs to speak out “before [Gooden is] dead.”
In the piece, Strawberry paints a terrifying picture of Gooden’s current condition.
“He’s a complete junkie-addict,” Strawberry said. “I’ve been trying behind the scenes to talk to him and get him to go for help, but he won’t listen. He thinks he can manipulate and BS his way through everything. His son called me to beg me to help his dad before he dies.
“The condition Doc is in, it’s bad, it’s horrible. It’s like cocaine poison. I feel like I’ve got to get it out there because nobody else is doing anything to help him, and it might be the only way to stop him.”
The Daily News also ran a letter written by Gooden’s ex-girlfriend Sunday, urging the pitcher to get help now. Like the various statements from Strawberry, it’s brutally honest and, at times, hard to read.
From the sound of it, many who are close to Gooden believe he needs to treat his addiction immediately. While going public about Gooden’s battle might seem harsh, it’s clear Strawberry feels he has nowhere else to turn.
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