The 27-year-old Los Angeles Angels pitcher who died of a drug overdose during a team road trip in Texas over the summer got opioids regularly from a team public relations employee, according to new reporting out this weekend from ESPN.
On Saturday, investigative reporter T.J. Quinn published a story in which he cites two sources familiar with the investigation who say that Angels’ director of communications Eric Kay told DEA agents that he gave Skaggs oxycodone, used it with him and that two Angels team officials were told about Skaggs drug use well before he died. Kay’s attorney also confirmed to Quinn the statements that his client made to the feds, though the two Angels employees who Kay says were told about Skaggs’ drug use have both denied those claims in statements to the Los Angeles Times.
The new details add an additional layer of complexity to the story and shed light on the circumstances surrounding Skaggs’ death, which have been unclear up to this point. Skaggs was found dead on July 1 in a Southlake, Texas hotel room. He had choked on his own vomit. His autopsy showed evidence of oxycodone, alcohol and fentanyl in his system. Venmo transactions obtained by ESPN’s investigative team allegedly show a series of payments made between Skaggs and Eric Kay over two years for amounts ranging from $150 to $600.
Today on AirTalk, Larry talks with ESPN’s T.J. Quinn as well as longtime Angels’ beat writer for the Los Angeles Times Mike DiGiovanna to talk about what to make of these new details and how they impact the larger investigation into Skaggs death, drug use and who knew what, and when.
We reached out to the Los Angeles Angels to request a team spokesperson be made available for comment, but as of the airing of this segment we had not received a reply to our request. We will update this segment if we hear from the team. On Saturday, October 12th, the Angels released this statement from team president John Carpino:
"We have never heard that any employee was providing illegal narcotics to any player, or that any player was seeking illegal narcotics. The Angels maintain a strict, zero tolerance policy regarding the illicit use of drugs for both players and staff. 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.”