NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The Yankees are reportedly offering to pay for Doc Gooden’s drug treatment — if he indeed needs it.
Darryl Strawberry has said publicly Gooden has a cocaine problem and that he fears for his former teammate’s life. Gooden has responded by saying he’s fine and that his friendship with Strawberry is now over.READ MORE: Mayor De Blasio Announces Vaccine Mandate For All New York City Municipal Workers, Including First Responders
Strawberry and Ron Dock, Gooden’s former drug counselor, both told the New York Daily News that the Yankees have reached out to them offering to pay for Gooden’s treatment.
“For the Yankees to show that type of support to Doc, I’m very grateful to them for that,” Strawberry said.
A Yankees spokesman confirmed to the paper that the team had made the offer but declined to comment further.
Gooden has battled drug addiction since his playing days, an issue that got him suspended from baseball in 1995 and landed him in prison for seven months in 2006. He has said in recent interviews that he still fights the urges associated with addiction.
Strawberry, Gooden’s teammate on world championship teams with the Mets and Yankees who has also battled addiction, says the former Cy Young Award winner has relapsed.
The public intervention began Thursday when Strawberry and Gooden were scheduled to participate in a WFAN interview in front of a live audience, but Gooden was scratched from the appearance at the last minute.
Answering a question from an audience member, Strawberry expressed deep concern for Gooden, saying he was fearful that the onetime star pitcher was again wrestling with the types of issues that took a toll on his promising playing career.
“It’s really, really, really tough to sit here and just know that he was supposed to be here, too, and he’s not here. It’s really tough. And I think a lot of times people just keep thinking it’s all right, and it’s not all right,” a clearly emotional Strawberry told WFAN’s Joe Benigno. “My fear is that — and I know addiction — and my fear is people that don’t change, they die. They die this way. I just hope the light comes on soon before it’s too late.”READ MORE: White House Details Plans To Vaccinate 28 Million Children Ages 5-11
Two days later, Strawberry defended voicing his concerns publicly, telling the Daily News, “I have to try something before he’s dead.
“He’s a complete junkie-addict,” Strawberry added. “I’ve been trying behind the scenes to talk to him and get him to go for help, but he won’t listen.”
Gooden, however, insisted Monday he’s fine.
“Everything’s good,” he told WNYM radio’s Joe Piscopo. “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.”
In an interview with the New York Post, Gooden added: “Unfortunately I have to forgive him (Strawberry), but I don’t have to deal with him. So the relationship between Doc and Darryl is completely over.”
Gooden’s son, Dwight Jr., released a statement Sunday night saying that his father has been depressed and under a great deal of stress due to the declining health and death last month of Doc’s mother.
However, Gooden’s ex-girlfriend, Janice Roots, wrote an open letter to the baseball great that ran in Monday’s Daily News. In it, she said, “You look like an addict. You talk like an addict.”MORE NEWS: Employee Stabbed To Death At East Harlem Deli
The spotlight has found Gooden, 51, again in recent months as the Mets celebrated the 30th anniversary of their 1986 world title, the Yankees marked the 20th anniversary of their 1996 championship and ESPN aired a documentary about the relationship between Gooden and Strawberry.