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This story is tragic on so many levels.
As you may recall when it first hit the news, back on July 1st of this year, star Los Angeles Angels pitcher Tyler Skaggs was unexpectedly found dead in his hotel room in Southlake, Texas just hours before his team was set to play a road game against the Texas Rangers. The MLB star was just 27 years old at the time of his death, leaving behind a young wife and a grieving community of teammates, friends, fans, and family members.
Then, another bombshell, when in late August, autopsy reports determined that Skaggs’ system contained drugs including oxycodone, alcohol, and fentanyl at the time of his death — suggesting the pitcher (pictured above, with his wife) may have been abusing opioids. Immediately, the left-handed pitcher’s family came out with a particularly aggressive statement that an Angels employee had been providing drugs to the star athlete, though that sounded far-fetched at the time.
Well, shockingly, it appears Skaggs’ family may have been absolutely right with their allegation.
A new report released by ESPN‘s Outside The Lines on Saturday evening revealed that an Angels staff member apparently told federal investigators that he did supply the late pitcher with drugs for at least two years’ time. Eric Kay, who has worked for years as the Angels’ director of communications, apparently confessed to Drug Enforcement Authority agents investigating Skaggs’ death that “he’d hooked him up with oxycodone for years.” Kay is apparently himself addicted to opioids, and currently in outpatient treatment right now for substance abuse issues, according to the report.
There’s more, too: according to the report, Kay also told DEA agents that he believed “at least five other players” were also using opiates, which would be a huge story in its own right, though those names were not made public. Furthermore, Kay claims that “at least two team officials” had been notified of Skaggs’ drug addiction well before the pitcher’s death — including one notification allegedly all the way back in 2017.
A rep for the Angels has denied that part of the report, at least, saying in a statement (below):
“We are shocked to hear these reports. … We had no prior knowledge of Tyler or any other member of the Angels organization having abused opioids or any narcotic and continue to work with law enforcement to get answers.”
It’s unclear what, if any, legal action may be faced at this point by Kay, the Angels, or anyone else. Obviously, Kay has had his own struggles with opioid addiction (reportedly starting after his father passed away years ago), and he’s been struggling himself with the disease. For now, it appears the DEA and other federal agencies will continue to investigate, as this story sweeps through baseball, and the sports world, this weekend. It’s a real tragedy in so many ways.
Addiction is absolutely awful.
[Image via Tyler Skaggs/Instagram]