Yankees starter CC Sabathia surprised the Yankees, who were preparing to face the Astros in the AL Wild Card game, two seasons ago when he abruptly left the team to seek treatment for alcoholism. In the time since, the lefty has been very open about his battle with addiction. He memorably did an interview with ESPN’s Scott Van Pelt. He also penned a column for The Players’ Tribune and did a ride-along video with VICE Sports.
New Falcons offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian says Sabathia’s interview with Van Pelt inspired him to seek help for his own battle with alcohol around the same time, ESPN’s Vaughn McClure reports. Sarkisian, then with USC, took an indefinite leave of absence in October 2015. He was fired from USC shortly thereafter, for which he filed a wrongful termination lawsuit.
Here’s what Sarkisian said about Sabathia’s interview:
I was actually at home on a Sunday night and I was watching SportsCenter, and Scott Van Pelt was doing his editorial. That night was when CC Sabathia had decided to go to treatment before the Major League Baseball playoffs. I thought to myself, ‘Whoa, here’s somebody who is like me, who is in a very high-profile position in sports – ace pitcher of the New York Yankees — and was being relatively commended or almost celebrated for going to do what he did.’
I knew I needed to [go]. I didn’t know how to go about it. But that thing gave me a feeling of, ‘There’s a like person that is going to do this. I know I need to do it. Now how, what, when.’ So I made the decision to go do it. It’s been the best decision of my life.
Sarkisian is now in a treatment program and he says “it’s going great.”
Kudos to Sarkisian for seeking help, which must have been very difficult to do, and kudos to Sabathia for helping others by sharing the battles he faced with addiction.