THE DEATH OF LARRY GORDON - Sports Illustrated Vault |
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In his story about cocaine use in sports in the July 14 issue
(When The Cheers Turned To Tears), SI writer Rick Reilly wrote that
the death of Miami Dolphins linebacker Larry Gordon in 1983 may have
been cocaine-related. Reilly reported that former Miami linebacker
Thomas (Hollywood) Henderson told SI's Armen Keteyian last fall that
he had free-based cocaine with Gordon the night before Gordon died of
a heart attack during a run in the desert in Arizona.
The story prompted varied reactions, including one from Henderson.
An admitted cocaine abuser who was convicted of bribery and sexual
assault in 1984, Henderson made the assertion about Gordon in an
interview at the California Men's Colony, a prison in San Luis
Obispo, at a time when he and Keteyian were discussing the
possibility of collaborating on a book. Last week Henderson denied
having made the statement and said he and Gordon never used drugs
together. Also last week, Mary Gordon, Larry's widow, said she was
unaware of any drug use. And a toxicological exam performed two days
after Gordon's death revealed that bile from his gallbladder had
tested negative for cocaine.
But Ira Gordon, Larry's older brother and a drug counselor who
lives in Phoenix, presented new evidence last week that Larry may
have free-based before his death. Gordon told the Arizona Republic
that in searching the room that had been occupied by his brother,
''I found small amounts of cocaine.'' He also found -- and disposed
of -- a pipe that might have been used in free-basing. ''It wasn't
like I was trying to destroy evidence,'' Gordon said. ''I was
hurting. I just wanted to get rid of it.''