Janice Roots felt like she had no other choice.
After all, Roots loves Dwight Gooden – her ex-beau. Plus, it was Gooden who helped Roots in her time of need.
Hence, she wants to do the same for the former Major League Baseball star.
This isn’t a jilted ex-girlfriend, airing dirty laundry for all the world to see. Roots isn’t on a mission to further embarrass Gooden, still a beloved figure in Baseball despite all the bad and hard times he’s endure.
It’s just that Roots had a front row, unfiltered seat to the real Dwight Gooden.
The Doc everyone else knows from his glory days on the mound at Shea Stadium, the soft-spoken man on TV interviews after his finishing his career or the public appearances many saw him at recently isn’t the one she spent almost every day with for four years until she decided in February that she was just too old, too sick, too tired, too sober and just lacked the strength to deal with his addiction anymore.
“I don’t even know who Dwight is when he’s high,” Roots told The Shadow League exclusively. “There’s the Dwight that I know and there’s the addict that gets high.”
(Photo credit: Kevin Parker)
And this isn’t hearsay, some made-up tale to feed the masses.
This is Roots’ story of what is and what has happened.
Roots, 54, was there. She lived it. They met at Citi Field in the summer of 2012 but didn’t start dating until December of that year.
As Roots tell it, Gooden, 51, helped her through a life-threatening adrenal disorder which causes, among other things, extremely resistant hypertension issues.
Roots is not a fake, a phony.
She has both pictures and video to prove what she says. To cement her credibility, Roots allowed me to see a passed out Gooden with a white substance (assumed to be cocaine) on his face. On the two videos shown to me, Gooden appears to be acting irrationally after what could be interpreted as a drug induced episode. It’s not a pretty picture, to say the least.
In fact, its scary.
It’s the same Gooden out there telling anyone that will listen that he’s fine. And that both Roots and Darryl Strawberry, his longtime friend and former teammate with both the New York Mets and Yankees, are doing him wrong and spreading false information.
If Roots simply was the mean-spirited ex, she could have cashed in already. For sure, TMZ would have paid top dollar for her proof.
But Roots will never give up the pictures or video. Not to anyone. Not even Strawberry, who knows of their existence but has not seen the content of the pictures or video.
Her only mission in revealing the images is to confirm that Gooden is not OK as he’s proclaiming, and that he needs help immediately in order to save his life.
Gooden turns 52 in November and Roots wants him to get there.
“I’m not God,” she said. “I don’t have a crystal ball. But I’m not stupid. And what I know, there’s only so much abuse the human body can sustain. This is why you have Whitney Houston where she is. Michael Jackson where he is. Bobbi Kristina, Anna Nicole, Prince and Marion Barry Jr., was the latest one.”
In Gooden’s case, Roots feels he’s on a highly destructive path, one that could lead to his death as well.
“I don’t know if it’s going to happen on his 52th birthday or 152nd birthday,” she said. “I don’t know.
“But I know that he’s in trouble as an addict. The addict is in trouble. I haven’t seen the Dwight I met in 2012 consistently for at least two years.”
Roots is sick about how Gooden, at one time the best pitcher in the game, got to where he is now.
Roots doesn’t feel guilty but sad. She realizes that she, indeed, was an enabler and wishes that she hadn’t turned the other way for years.
“I didn’t go out and physically get drugs for him or stuff like that,” she said. “But I was quiet when I saw it. I was quiet when I heard it. I was quiet about how he made me feel as his friend.
“It was difficult to confront him. It was easier to not say anything.”
(Photo Credit: USA Today)
Roots didn’t want to sit in judgment of Gooden, but be there to support him.
“I told him whenever he wants help, whenever he feels ready, whatever he wants me to do to help him help himself – within my means – I will do it for you,” Roots said.
Roots is thankful for Strawberry. Some have come down on Straw for going public about Gooden’s plight and for calling him an “addicted-junkie.” Not Roots.
“I will not sit in judgment,” she said. “Darryl did what others have been afraid or unable to do; and I admire his courage.”
When he was asked about Gooden and why he was a no-show to a public event that they were both supposed to be at, Strawberry simply refused to lie anymore.
“He was caught between knowing the lies that Dwight was going to tell about his absence and knowing the truth about why Dwight and where he is now,” Roots said. “What Darryl was torn about was should I continue to cover for him like I’ve been doing or should I tell the truth.”
That’s where Roots is today. She refuses to be an enabler anymore.
“I don’t feel guilty,” Roots said. “I’m not going to beat myself up with guilt. I made missteps. But this isn’t a matter of right or wrong. An addiction is a matter of life or death like any other disease. There is no shame with someone being addicted.”
Roots knows Gooden is addicted and simply wants him to get the help he needs. Given her proof and actions, it’s hard to disagree.