Angry Dukes sounds off
Rays executive vice president Andrew Friedman said Tuesday night team officials had "disappointment and frustration" that the Dukes issues has caused such a distraction, and that the sentiment "extends all the way throughout the organization.'' He also said team officials spoke with Dukes today after hearing of the radio spot.
An angry-sounding Elijah Dukes called Ron Diaz's and Ian Beckles' radio show on WDAE 620-AM early this morning to address the recent controversies and accusations by his estranged wife, NiShea Gilbert.
Among other things, Dukes said if he hadn't left Gilbert he would be in jail because she would have provoked him into attacking her:
"I know if I stayed with her I'd physically be in prison because she provoked me by hitting me,'' Dukes said. "She done hit me across the head with a picture frame and everything. I hate that because I told my kids I would never go back to jail for no domestic violence.
"I have made strides. I maybe, I probably, have an anger problem but I manage my anger and I know how to get rid of some of the problems to my anger.''
When Dukes was asked if he "needed help,'' he said:
(Times photo: Brian Cassella. Click to enlarge.)
"No, I don’t need no help. Everybody needs guidance. Do I need guidance? Yes, I need guidance. Sometimes you need somebody to talk to. But do I need help? No, I don’t need help.
"How many times have I ever shot someone? How many times have I ever stabbed someone? How many times have I gone to jail for brutally beating someone? Never. I went to jail for breaking a remote control (in a previous domestic case).''
Dukes admitted that the recent issues (specifically being ordered by a judge to not see his kids with Gilbert for a year) are the reason for his extended slump on the field, which has led to him losing his job as the starting centerfielder and raising the question if the Rays will soon demote him to the minors or release him. He was not in the lineup for a seventh straight day on Tuesday.
"I am in a bit of a slump because I've got all this other stuff going on,'' he said. "You know how hard it is to be away from your kids when you've always been with your kids. Does anybody know how that feels?"
He also said he is not the father of a baby with a former foster child at his step-grandmother's house, though admitted they did have a one-time relationship.
Dukes said he hadn't addressed any of the previous reports or accusations by his estranged wife, but decided to call in to the station after hearing about a caller claiming Dukes admitted to him during an anger management session that Dukes' mother had smoked crack:
(Pictured: Phyllis Dukes, mother of Elijah Dukes. Times photo - Kathleen Flynn)
"I don’t talk about this stuff because I'm not one of those people who have to get even,'' Dukes said. "Just like the Bible says, If you know it's not true you don't have to say anything and I haven't been saying anything. But I will say something about this situation with my mom out my mouth, because everyone knows I do love my mom. And I am tough on my mom but I know for fact I never told nobody my mom smoked crack because that would be a lie on my behalf. She never told me and I never caught her.''
The Rays are in Arizona, and Dukes made the call shortly after 7 a.m. Arizona time, when most players are sleeping. The Rays play again tonight.
He also accused Gilbert of trying to "steal my money" and made this observation:
"I had to go through a lot to get to where I am today. All I want to say is that every time you get to the top you always have those hyenas who want to knock you down as a lion. ... I have come a long way. ... Nobody's going to bring me down with all these accusations they're making about me.''
His comments were exclusive to the radio station, which has been airing interviews from his relatives and Gilbert over the last week.
Listen to the audio, located at 620wdae.com.