On Thursday, Doc Gooden missed a scheduled appearance alongside Darryl Strawberry and other former Mets at a WFAN event. Strawberry expressed deep concerns about Gooden and “addiction,” leading Gooden to tell the New York Daily News that he missed the appearance because of a minor health issue, and that Strawberry’s concern was “unreal.”
Gooden’s assurances that everything was okay seems to have convinced Strawberry that a full-blown public intervention is necessary, and he came forward and detailed to the NYDN claims that Gooden is a cocaine addict and on the brink of death:
“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.
Gooden, of course, has dealt with drug issues for at least the last three decades, first getting arrested in 1986 and missing the entire 1995 baseball season because of a drug suspension. Strawberry has a similar history of arrests and drug suspensions, and is now a Christian minister who, along with his wife, runs a drug and alcohol rehab center.
Gooden has claimed that he has been clean since 2011, but Strawberry connected NYDN reporter John Harper with Janice Roots, who says she lived with Gooden for four years, and that he has been heavily using cocaine since 2014:
“It breaks my heart because Dwight is a loving, compassionate man who took care of me when I had health problems,” Roots said by phone on Sunday. “But then he morphed into a cocaine monster.
“I don’t even know if he realizes what he’s doing. He turns into a different person. He’s a great guy who takes care of his family members, but being around him, there were times when it was just a very toxic, dangerous environment.
Harper also talked with somebody who says he was at Gooden’s apartment the night he failed to show for the WFAN event, and it certainly doesn’t sound like it was a “minor health issue” that kept Gooden away:
According to this person, Gooden locked himself in the bedroom of his apartment late in the afternoon, when he was supposed to be leaving for the appearance, and wouldn’t come out despite repeated urging from the person in question, as well as three of Doc’s adult children, who were there at the time.
“At one point I’m banging on the door,” the person said, “and he finally came barreling out of the room, but only to yell at me to stop banging on the door before I broke it. Then he went back in his room and wouldn’t come out.
Late last night, Gooden’s son released a statement on behalf of the family thanking Strawberry, Roots, friends, and the media for their concern for Gooden’s health.
This morning Gooden took to the radio and said that he has a “drug problem” and has been an addict for most of his life, but also that he is healthy and his WFAN event no-show had nothing to do with drugs. He saved his strongest words for Strawberry, seemingly stung by Strawberry’s public airing of Gooden’s alleged problems:
“The Darryl thing hurt me a lot,” Gooden said. “I reestablished a relationship with him. I gave him a lot of stuff. I never went to the press. I never said anything (negative) about him. I need to make better choices in picking friends.”
This cycle of addiction and recovery—the uncertainty, the denials about using, the drastic attempts to help a loved one, the broken relationships—certainly isn’t unique to Gooden, but rarely does the process play out on such a public stage.