Dwight Gooden responded to Darryl Strawberry on Monday night, denying an accusation by his former New York Mets teammate that he is a “complete junkie-addict and calling Strawberry “Lucifer” as their feud over Gooden’s unavailability for a public appearance with Strawberry last week escalated.
“I had always been supportive of Darryl, during his best and worst days,” Gooden said in a statement emailed to The Post. “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.
“I had never failed to be there for Darryl Strawberry. I don’t do cocaine and have not for years.”
The question of Gooden’s health came up Sunday in a column by John Harper of the New York Daily News. Strawberry texted Harper, who covered the Mets during their heyday, on Saturday to say of Gooden: “I have to try something before he’s dead.”
“He’s a complete junkie-addict,” Strawberry told Harper, who wrote that he spoke with three sources on the subject. “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 B.S. 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.”
Gooden was suspended for the 1996 major league season because of his cocaine use and has been arrested a number of times on drug-related charges. Strawberry has battled addiction, too, and was scheduled to join Gooden in a radio appearance last Thursday. Gooden’s absence triggered Strawberry’s comments.
“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.”
On Monday afternoon, Gooden admitted on WNYM’s “Joe Piscopo Show” that he has struggled to stay clean.
“I do have a drug problem,” Gooden said. “I’ve been an addict most my life. I am an addict.”
The feud got uglier Monday night, with Gooden telling the New York Post he’s been clean for four years and adding: “He’s trying to take the heat off himself, people who [are] in glass houses do not throw stones. He’s cheating on his wife, he’s having an affair with people.
“… Darryl has a drug rehab in his name, he is supposed to be a pastor. I call him Lucifer. … [Going public] was a weak shot, and he did it to make himself look better, because he is running a drug rehab.”
Strawberry runs a drug and alcohol rehab center in Florida, and told ESPN radio he was staging a public intervention.
“He’s not Doctor K,” Strawberry said. “He’s an addict. … He needs someone to help him, and I just felt like I needed to do this, regardless of what anyone thinks or says. As long as I know I did what I could to save his life.”