"That's the first I heard of it," says Bobby Stewart, a former counselor at Tryon School for Boys in Johnstown, N.Y., where Tyson spent his early teen years. "A lot of people were under medication at Tryon, but Mike Tyson wasn't one of them. I know, because I was the guy who gave it out every night."
Richard Stickles, Tyson's principal at Catskill High School, is equally mystified. "It's suggested that Mike had some sort of a chemical imbalance, or that he is off his clock," says Stickles. "No way. Not him. We couldn't have hidden a thing like that. People would have been all over us. There's been talk that Mike had a lot of trouble in school. That's not true, either. He was a boy like any other boy, no better but no worse, and he was brighter than most, and still is."
Dr. Eugene Brody, a Manhattan internist and hematologist and Tyson's personal physician since late 1985, says that he is also baffled by references to a chemical imbalance. "I've examined him regularly, and nothing like that ever showed up," he says. "When I took his medical history the first time, I saw that there was no record of any such thing, and he never mentioned it. I certainly have never prescribed any kind of drug for something like that. It's hard enough just to get him to take antibiotics when he has an infection. He'll start taking them and just stop."
Cayton and Rooney were infuriated by the attack in the Daily News. "The story is obviously a plant, and it's replete with lies," says Cayton. "They [McAlary's sources] say that Bill Cayton and Kevin Rooney were told almost immediately of the crash and emotional problems, and our only reaction was our concern for Tyson's upcoming and lucrative fight with Frank Bruno. That's 100 percent a lie. We weren't called, and we are not, I repeat not, concerned about the fight. Where this story deals with Bill Cayton, where I know the facts, this is a thoroughly outrageous story."
McAlary wrote that "[ Tyson] was surrounded in a hospital room by two sets of people. One set, the nonfight people, were trying to help the heavyweight champion of the world save his life. The second set, the fight people, Cayton and Rooney, were trying to save a meal ticket." (In fact, Cayton and Rooney were never allowed in Tyson's hospital room.)
"Save the meal ticket!" says Cayton, who is a multimillionaire. "I told Jarvis Astair and Mickey Duff, the British promoters, that I expected Mike to get a completely clean bill of health. But even so, before I will permit him to fight, I will demand that he get a clean bill of health from five of New York's top neurosurgeons. And all five must give it. Only then will he fight Bruno or anyone else. The story said that Kevin and I were told of emotional problems. That's totally false. It's actually libelous."
"What it is," says Rooney of the McAlary piece, "is bull——. I've told Mike before, I don't care if he ever fights again. If he wants to quit and live a happy life, fine. I'm all for whatever he wants to do. And so is Bill Cayton. You ask them bastards who planted the story what they want Mike to do. See what they answer."
"You don't have to be a rocket scientist to figure out where that News story came from," says Chief of Police Dolan. "That suicide story is a deliberate attempt on someone's part to make Mike appear as a real bad person. That wasn't your accidental leak to the press. The obvious question is: Who and why? For some reason Mike's new family feels threatened by, and is insecure because of, his old family. And from what I know, there's absolutely no reason for it. At some point Mike has to take control of his own life. He has to say to his new family: Hey, this is my manager and my trainer and these are my friends. There is no reason to feel threatened by them. They are a part of my life, and they are going to stay a part of my life. Get used to it."
Still something good may come out of all this. Tyson just might go out and hire himself a chauffeur. That would make a lot of people rest easier. As Bright says, "When Mike drives out of the yard, I hide behind a tree. But now, he's even getting those."