Thursday, June 6, 2013

Dwight Gooden: Hearing a man get raped in prison the 'most devastating' moment of my life

Dwight Gooden has heard a lot of terrible things over his lifetime — fans booing, being told he wasted his talent and policemen saying you're under arrest all come to mind — but he left no doubt this morning as to what was the most harrowing sound that ever crossed his ears.

The former major league star was on WFAN Thursday morning promoting his new book: “Doc: A Memoir” and recalled hearing a man getting raped when he was in prison. Gooden said it was “the most devastating thing that I had to go through in my life.”

“No. 1, once you get into prison, you’re not Doc Gooden the baseball player,” Gooden told the station. “You’re a number. That’s it. And you’re not living; you’re just in the system. So in there, if a guy wants to take you, he’s going to take you, because it’s going to be 10 guys.

“There’s nothing you can do. So me not actually witnessing the guy getting raped in there, but hearing him screaming and fighting for his life, you knew what was going on behind the door. You don’t know if you’re going to be next.”

Besides reliving the horrors of prison, the right-handed flamethrower discussed other subjects including his appearance on "Celebrity Rehab" (Gooden said he "wanted to remove that mask and let everybody know that hey, I do have a disease") and his thoughts on Mets phenom Matt Harvey, who has received the kind of attention Gooden got when he came up. "It seems like he's in the right place," Gooden said. "The thing I like to hear is not so much what he's saying, but what people are saying about him. And so far everybody's saying he's a great kid."

Gooden had several well-publicized run-ins with the law involving alcohol and drugs after his retirement from baseball in 2000 following a second stint with the Yankees. He was sentenced to prison in 2006 after showing up to a meeting with his probation officer high on cocaine. Gooden chose prison over probation in hopes it would help him get over his addiction. He said he was not clean until March 2011, though.

“You’re as sick as your secrets,” Gooden said of the book. “I had to come clean with everything, and so basically it was just strictly therapy for myself and hopefully (it will) help someone else.”

For some reason I think Gooden got this message across loud and clear.

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