After Gooden missed a joint appearance that he was supposed to make with Strawberry at a WFAN radio event in New York City last Thursday, Strawberry revealed that he believes Gooden is struggling with drug addiction again, which is something he’s spent about three decades trying to overcome. "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," Strawberry said at the event. "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. 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."
Gooden responded to Strawberry’s comments on Friday by telling the New York Daily News that he is "fine" and was "just finishing up some minor health issues." But over the weekend, Strawberry responded to Gooden's remarks while speaking with the Daily News and said that he thinks Gooden continues to battle the drug demons that were documented in the recent ESPN 30 for 30 documentary, Doc & Darryl.
"I have to try something before he’s dead," Strawberry said at one point before detailing how bad things have reportedly gotten for Gooden. "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."
In addition to speaking with the Daily News about Gooden, Strawberry also put the newspaper in touch with several people in Gooden’s life, including his former live-in girlfriend Janice Roots. She told the Daily News she spent four years living with Gooden before she left him in February due to his cocaine use.
"It breaks my heart because Dwight is a loving, compassionate man who took care of me when I had health problems," she said. "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. I felt helpless to do anything. I finally left because to sit there and watch somebody kill himself was devastating."
After speaking to two anonymous sources, the Daily News also provided a full account of what Gooden was reportedly doing last Thursday when he was supposed to be at the WFAN event with Strawberry. You can read about it here.
Gooden’s son Dwight Gooden Jr. released a brief statement on Sunday night after the Daily News report was released and said his father is planning to "regroup and address his health" immediately:
Let’s all hope Gooden gets the help it seems he needs.