After missing an event last week and friends expressing concern for Dwight Gooden, including former teammate, Darryl Strawberry, Dr. K struck back.
“I don’t do cocaine and I haven’t done in years,” Gooden said in a statement sent to NY Sports Day.
Gooden is upset after Strawberry spoke with the New York Daily News calling him a “complete junkie-addict” and appeared in “horrible” condition.
This morning, the 51 year-old former Met and Yankee appeared on a radio show and then sent the statement out tonight.
“I had always been supportive of Darryl, during his best and worst days,” Gooden said in the statement. “I recall the times he was in prison, and I was there for him. I recall the times he struggled with his own addiction, and I was there for him then, too.
“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.”
Sadly this has become more of a story in the past few days because of the timing. The Mets and Yankees are on the road and the papers need to fill the space somehow.
And it makes for good copy. Two of the most popular players in New York history with Shakespearian-like falls from grace have had a bit of a revival this year with the 30th anniversary of the 1986 Mets World Series and the 20th anniversary of the Yankees 1996 World Championship.
Add to that the release of the documentary called Doc and Darryl on ESPN and both former players are in the spotlight.
No one but Gooden knows if he is still using drugs. He doesn’t look great, but at the same time he hasn’t been in trouble with the law in a few years either.
All Gooden is guilty of is missing a WFAN event last Thursday, which is attributed to poor health.
Strawberry has gotten his life back together in the past few years and owns a few drug rehabilitation centers around the country.
“The Darryl thing hurt me a lot,” Gooden said on the Joe Piscopo show this morning. “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.”
Contrary to popular belief, the two former Major Leaguers never have been close friends and are only linked because of their past employment together. They have become friendly over the years because of team reunions and both players entered the Mets Hall of Fame at the same time.
However after this incident, you wonder if the relationship is fractured beyond repair. And you also have to wonder if Gooden is telling the truth or has Strawberry crossed the line with his former teammate?
It is sad, though, this feud is playing out in the public eye, because neither side looks good here.