It’s been nearly two and a half years since Tyler Skaggs sadly passed away from a overdose of opioids. A story that shook the world of baseball because of the veil it lifted on the use of such substances in sport.
It will be remembered that it had shaken his teammates, but that they had launched a game without points or hits in their first home game thereafter. They had honored Skaggs by covering the mound with about 30 uniforms emblazoned with the late pitcher’s #45.
But the Skaggs family have since taken Eric Kay, who allegedly supplied the pitcher the opioids, to court. And yesterday, we were treated to big revelations in court.
Among the witnesses called to the stand yesterday, there was in particular Carli Skaggs, the wife of the former pitcher. She had great difficulty testifying due to emotion, but revealed that she was unaware of her husband’s drug use.
She added that she would have helped him if she had known and that she had already urged him to seek help for a drinking problem. She says, however, that she now understands better what was the real reason behind her behavior and she regrets having only stopped at alcohol.
We also had a few testimonials from former Skaggs teammates yesterday, including Matt Harvey. In addition to admitting that he used cocaine (he is protected by the court since he is testifying in the Skaggs case) and that he has already spoken about his suicidal thoughts to other people without ‘they don’t help him, he returned to the situation at the Angels.
Harvey notably stated that he was aware of Skaggs’ use, having given him drugs himself in the past. The two have traded it a few times in the past and Harvey notes he didn’t see fit to talk about it to ‘be a good teammate’.
Looking back, he admits he should have tried to warn Skaggs to limit his drinking. He also added that he shared Percocet (a strong painkiller he got from a ‘hockey player’) with Skaggs and came very close to consuming the day of his death. Skaggs, but threw away his entire stock upon hearing the news.
It should also be noted that Harvey, along with Cam Bedrosian, CJ Cron and Mike Morin, all said they knew that Eric Kay was distributing opioids to players. They didn’t all use his services, but they were well aware of what was going on.
This is truly a heartbreaking story, and I sincerely hope that the Skaggs case will be the last of its kind. The culture of painkiller use in sport is far too present to stop overnight, I’m aware of that, but we have to make sure it doesn’t cost the lives of other athletes as much as possible.