Darryl Strawberry reasserted his belief Wednesday that Dwight Gooden has a drug problem and is in need of immediate help. On Tuesday night, Gooden told Newsday he has not used cocaine since March 11, 2012.
Strawberry, who along with Gooden had drug-related issues in their years with the Mets, said he doesn’t believe his former teammate.
“He’s not Dr. K anymore, he’s an addict and he needs help. That’s the urgency that I have for his life,’’ Strawberry, 54, said Wednesday in a phone interview. “I lived it. I’m Dwight Gooden, that’s where I was thirteen years ago. What I said is true and I just hope that one day and one day soon he’ll realize the danger that he’s in and what can take place. I’m his friend, I’m not his enemy. I’m not trying to gain anything from this.’’
Strawberry has his name on two drug treatment centers and said he has offered Gooden help, but that Gooden has not responded.
Strawberry first voiced concern when Gooden did not appear last week for what was to be a joint appearance on WFAN. Todd Shapiro, Gooden’s publicist, said of Strawberry’s latest remarks: “Doc Gooden is furious that Darryl would make a media event out of not showing up to an appearance together and would not engage in a further war of words.’’
Strawberry said he met with Gooden’s mother, Ella Mae, before her death last month.
“I promised her that I would help him and I prayed with her,’’ he said. “I want to keep my promise to his mother. She was a wonderful woman. She asked me, ‘Would you just keep my son in prayer and help him?’ That’s what I’m trying to do. It doesn’t matter what anyone else is saying, other teammates. I don’t care what they say, they’re not recovering addicts.
“When you look at a guy like him and look at his condition and what’s happening to him, he’s on the back end going just like one of the other celebrity stars go. Whitney Houston died that way. Prince just died that way because everybody kept silent.
“I’ve already tried to work with him behind the scenes. His son has reached out to me several times. When does it stop? When does somebody speak up? When does somebody point that out? Look at this man. Look at him. This is not the Dwight Gooden that we all know.’’
Dwight Gooden Jr. could not be reached.
“You can’t have sympathy, you have to have an urgency for what’s happening right now,’’ Strawberry said. “Eventually he’s going to OD (overdose) and die, that’s what’s going to happen. It’s over then. They’ll say, he was a great pitcher. It was Dwight Gooden. But he’s dead.’’