When will people quit giving this guy so many breaks? What’s wrong with our justice system?
TAMPA, Fla. — Former baseball star Dwight Gooden was sentenced to three years’ probation Thursday after pleading guilty to speeding away from police following a traffic stop last August.
The 40-year-old ex-pitcher will remain for an indefinite time at a drug treatment facility where he has spent the past month and a half.
“I’m very sorry for these actions,” Gooden told Judge Nick Nazaretian. “And I thank the state for giving me the opportunity to get along with my life.”
Gooden pleaded guilty to a felony count of fleeing police, misdemeanor charges of reckless driving and obstruction and to an unrelated charge of hitting his girlfriend.
“You have a lot of situations in your life going on, but you look a whole lot better than you did before,” Nazaretian said. “You should be commended for trying to keep things straightened out in your life.”
The 1984 rookie of the year and the 1985 NL Cy Young Award winner must complete his drug treatment, get a full-time job afterward and spend 100 hours speaking to 100 schools, Little League teams and other youth groups about how drugs affected his life.
“This is a person who children and young teens respect and has the potential to make a tremendous difference in kids’ lives,” prosecutor Pam Bondi said.
As part of his probation, Gooden must stay away from alcohol, drugs and bars, and submit to a minimum of three random urine screens a week, Bondi said. Probation can be terminated after two years if he has no violations.
Gooden also pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor battery charge stemming from a March dispute with his live-in girlfriend. He was sentenced to 45 days in jail and given credit for time already served. He also was ordered to take an anger management class.
Gooden, who is from Tampa, was pulled over for driving erratically in the early morning hours of Aug. 22, police said. Slurring his words and smelling of alcohol, he twice refused to get out of the car for a field sobriety test and bolted while the officer was still holding his driver’s license, police said. He surrendered three days later and has been in custody since.
Gooden was an instant sensation after debuting with the New York Mets in 1984. He went 194-112 with a 3.51 ERA before retiring in 2001. He also pitched for the New York Yankees, Cleveland Indians, Houston Astros and Tampa Bay Devil Rays.
Gooden was arrested by Tampa police in 2002 on a drunken driving charge but later pleaded guilty to reckless driving and received a year probation.
Gooden was suspended for 60 days in 1994 for testing positive for cocaine while with the Mets. He tested positive for cocaine again while on suspension and was sidelined for the 1995 season. He recently worked for the Yankees as a special adviser but quit in April.
The Associated Press News Service
I can’t stand Dwight Gooden. He’s a waste of human air.
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