Earlier this year, Dwight Gooden and Darryl Strawberry were the subjects of an ESPN 30 for 30 that portrayed their downfall from burgeoning superstars to troubled drug addicts. According to the now-clean Strawberry, Gooden’s most recent relapse leaves his life in danger.

“I have to try something before he’s dead,” Strawberry told John Harper of the New York Daily News on Saturday as part of a public plea to get his friend help.

The New York Yankees have offered to pay for Gooden’s treatment if he accepts, Harper reported on Tuesday.

Strawberry previously expressed concern for Gooden after the former ace failed to show up to an appearance the two were scheduled to make last week in New York. Gooden denied Strawberry’s concern for him was merited, calling it “unreal.”

“I am fine, just finishing up some minor health issues,” Gooden said in a text message, per Harper, Peter Botte and Denis Slattery of the Daily News.

Gooden expanded on his health in an appearance on The Joe Piscopo Show on WNYM-AM (via Chuck Schilken of the Los Angeles Times).

“I am healthy,” Gooden said, per Perez. “I do have a drug problem. I’ve been an addict most my life. I am an addict. I don’t hide from anything. Anything I’m doing wrong, I’ll be the first to tell you.”

Gooden denied using cocaine in the last few years in a press release, per Mike Axisa of CBS Sports:

I had never failed to be there for Darryl Strawberry. I don’t do cocaine and have not for years.

Last Thursday night, I was unable to attend an event at WFAN with Darryl. There were plenty of times when Darryl was unable to attend events as well. No one, most of all me, made any big deal out of Darryl’s absence, nor should they have had.

But Darryl has always made our differences personal, going back to our days with the Mets.

I had hoped we could keep these differences between us. But Darryl could not manage to do that. I am sorry for his inability to show more character and strength. While I was there for him, he obviously was never there for me.

Strawberry, who has been sober for more than a decade after years of alcohol and drug addiction, said Gooden is in a state of denial because of his cocaine addiction. Harper wrote Strawberry has “no doubt” Gooden is again battling through a relapse:

He’s a complete junkie-addict. 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.

Janice Roots, who dated Gooden for four years until leaving him in February, confirmed Strawberry’s account. She categorized Gooden as 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.

I felt helpless to do anything. I finally left because to sit there and watch somebody kill himself was devastating.

Gooden, who turns 52 in November, has dealt with a cocaine problem since his Cy Young-winning heights in the 1980s. He’s had numerous legal problems as a result, including a seven-month prison sentence in 2006 following a probation violation.

Gooden has not been in trouble with the law since a 2010 DWI charge.


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