By now, most of you have heard the reports that it was Eric Kay, Angels Director of Communications, who had been providing Tyler Skaggs with illegal opioids for years. Unfortunately, the latest revelations perhaps raises more questions than provide answers. I’ve put together a timeline. And some questions.
2017, unknown date
Eric Kay’s mother, Sandy, said that Kay had told Tim Mead, then-Angels VP of communications, about Skaggs’ opioid use several years ago. Keep in mind opioid abuse often begins after surgeries, when the drug may be prescribed to the patient. Per the Mayo Clinic, opioids are highly addictive and your risk of addiction is increased after taking the drug for just a few days. Skaggs had TJ Surgery in 2014 and didn’t pitch at all in the 2015 season.
Q. If Eric Kay and Tim Mead had such a close relationship and had worked together for 20+ years, is it more or less likely that Kay would hold a secret like this?
Q. For how long had Tyler Skaggs been abusing opiates? Per the second Outside The Lines report, Kay and Skaggs had a “more than four-year history of opioid abuse together”, while the Venmo payments between each other had went on for two years. Did Skaggs manage to keep this a secret from all his teammates over the years? Was his TJ surgery in 2014 an inciting event for his opiate abuse? That would seem to fit with the timeline Kay provided.
April 22, 2019
Mead visited Kay in the hospital, who was recovering from his own opioid overdose. According to Sandy Kay who was present, she had a conversation with Mead about Skaggs and drugs. She wanted to get Skaggs “off her [son’s] back”.
Q. Someone is lying here and it’s either Tim Mead, who denies the conversation took place, or Sandy Kay. What would be the reasons either of them would lie? Sandy’s benefit would perhaps be to shift blame away from her son and onto the Angels. Mead’s reasons should be rather obvious.
June 28 or 29, 2019
Eric Kay gave Tyler Skaggs 6 oxy pills. He said he gave them to him “a day or two before the team left for Texas.” He further added that Skaggs usually ingested the pills right after receiving them so didn’t believe Skaggs overdosed on his pills.
Q. 6 pills is a lot, but it’s quite possible Kay is telling the truth and the pills Skaggs later took were different than the ones he provided. I would think he could look up transaction though and pinpoint the day he gave them to Skaggs. Was it Friday or Saturday? This seems like a thing one would remember.
July 1, 2019
Skaggs pronounced dead at 2:18PM. I have been unable to find the exact time of of his death, though this was the time he was found and officially pronounced dead. Eric Kay said he was in Skaggs’ room hours before his death because Skaggs texted him to come visit him. Kay said he “watched” Skaggs snort crushed opioids in front of him.
Q. How did Kay know it was hours before Skaggs’ death? Was that at noon or was it late Sunday night? Perhaps he is aware of the exact time of death. While no one knows how sudden the drugs affected Skaggs, he must not have been in great shape when Kay left the room unless he partook in more over those next few hours. According to DrugAbuse.com, one feels the effects of fentanyl within minutes of snorting.
Q. Though Kay does not have a motive to lie, are we to believe that Skaggs and Kay often did drugs together and at this time, Skaggs incited Kay over just so he could “watch”?
August 30, 2019
The coroner releases a report that Skaggs died due to “a mix of fentanyl, oxycodone and alcohol in his system led him to choke on his own vomit.”
Skaggs’ family releases a statement that they are “shocked” to learn an Angels employee may have been involved.
Q. What was Kay’s initial reaction was when he read this statement from Skaggs’ family?
September 18, 2019
It was reported by Outside the Lines that the DEA had begun an investigation into the source of the fentanyl.
October 12, 2019
ESPN’s T.J. Quinn breaks the story on Eric Kay and his involvement in a very detailed report. Revelations included Sandy Kay saying Tim Mead knew about the problem and that at least five other players had abused opiates while on the Angels.
Q. Kay gave out names. Are those 5 players past or present Angels or a mixture of both? Will those names become public?
Angels PR released a statement that says they have never heard of anyone providing illegal drugs or that any player was seeking them. This statement was posted to Twitter, but it or any other news related to this matter can not be found on the Angels main website.
Q. Are the Angels being non transparent here by hiding the news on their website? Or are they just not reporting due to ongoing legal action?
Tim Kay’s attorney called Skaggs “an addict who overdosed.”
Q. While technically true, it came off as rather harsh. Is this part of the campaign to paint Kay as innocent and ultimately get him off with a proverbial slap on the wrist?
October 13, 2019
Eric Kay released a statement saying “I made the decision to cooperate with law enforcement because I felt that it was the right thing to do.”
Q. Did he come forward because it was the “right thing to do”? Or perhaps he was backed in to a corner and had no choice?
Eric Kay is currently in outpatient treatment and is on a paid leave from the Angels.