Steve Phillips, the former ESPN baseball analyst and New York Mets general manager, said Monday that he knew he had a sex addiction problem in August — two months before he was fired from his role with the network.
“What I want to do is take ownership,” he said in an interview with Matt Lauer on NBC’s Today Show. “I made some mistakes … I’m fully responsible for what I did.”
Phillips spoke publicly for the first time since he left the Pine Grove Behavioral Health and Addiction Services clinic in Hattiesburg, Miss., the same clinic golfer Tiger Woods reportedly attended.
Phillips I couldn’t stop myself from doing the things I was doing, even knowing the consequences.
Phillips didn’t talk extensively about his time at Pine Grove, but did say that it is a place for people who are “broken” and “struggling to find answers.”
Phillips said he realized he had a sexual addiction problem in August, while he was having an affair with ESPN production assistant Brooke Hundley. That affair eventually included Hundley contacting Phillips’ wife at their home. It made its way to the New York tabloids, where Phillips was front-page fodder, in October.
“I recognized in August, I needed help,” Phillips said. “I started calling facilities.”
He said he had made the decision on Friday, Oct. 23, 2009, to attend the sexual addiction clinic. He was fired by ESPN two days later. Hundley was also let go by ESPN.
At the time, a representative for Phillips said he was entering a treatment facility “to address his personal issues.”
“I couldn’t stop myself from doing the things I was doing, even knowing the consequences,” Phillips told Lauer on Monday.
A month earlier, Phillips wife, Marni, had filed for divorce. The couple had been married for 19 years. He has four children.
He said he has returned to his home, but doesn’t know if his marriage can be saved. He declined to say if he had anything to tell Hundley.
“All of that is in the past,” he said. “My focus is moving forward, trying to save my family.”
Hundley, in a taped piece that preceded the Phillips interview, said that she was “young” and had made mistakes as well.
Phillips was the general manager of the Mets from 1997-2003. He said during that time, while taking a leave of absence from the team after a sexual harassment allegation, he had counseling locally for sexual issues, but didn’t enter a treatment facility.
He worked at ESPN from 2005 through October.