The Los Angeles have responded to a damning ESPN report published Saturday detailing that two team officials knew of pitcher Tyler Skaggs’ drug abuse “long before his death” on July 1. The team, however, maintains they had never heard such a thing.
Angels President John Camino said the team “never heard that any employee was providing illegal narcotics to any player,” nor were they aware of any players looking for illegal narcotics.
“The Angels maintain a strict, zero tolerance policy regarding the illicit use of drugs for both players and staff,” he said in a statement. “Every one of our players must also abide by the MLB joint Drug Agreement. We continue to mourn the loss of Tyler and fully cooperate with the authorities as they continue their investigation.”
The report stated that Eric Kay, the Angels’ director of communications, personally provided Skaggs with oxycodone — and used it himself — for years. Skaggs, 27, was found dead in a Texas hotel room from choking on his vomit after drinking alcohol and taking fentanyl and oxycodone, according to the Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s Office.
ESPN reported that Kay gave three oxycodone pills to Skaggs a day or two before the baseball team left for Texas to play in a series against the Rangers. Hours before Skaggs’ death, he allegedly snorted three lines of crushed opioids — two Kay recognized as oxycodone and one that he did not recognize.
Two team officials allegedly knew of Skaggs’ drug use, according to Kay. Tim Mead, the former Angels vice president of communications and Kay’s supervisor, allegedly became aware of the situation in 2017 and again this April when Kay was recovering from an overdose and received a text from Skaggs seeking drugs.
He also told them the names of five other people who used drugs while they played for the Angels, according to ESPN. Mead denied the allegations.
Skaggs’ family attorney, Rusty Hardin, told ESPN that they look forward to the results of the DEA’s investigation.
“The Skaggs family continues to mourn the loss of a beloved son, brother, husband and son-in-law,” he said. “They greatly appreciate the work that law enforcement is doing, and they are patiently awaiting the results of the investigation.”