Fox Sports’ Skip Bayless criticizes Cowboys QB Dak Prescott for discussing depression
Fox Sports TV personality Skip Bayless on Thursday criticized Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott for going public with his battle with depression in the wake of his brother's death in April.
Speaking on Fox Sports' "Undisputed," Bayless prefaced his remarks by saying that people would see him as "cold-blooded and insensitive" on the issue. Then he questioned the leadership ability of Prescott, who confirmed in a recent interview with Graham Bensinger that he had experienced symptoms of depression during the offseason.
"You are commanding an entire franchise," Bayless said. "They’re all looking to you to be their CEO, to be in charge of the football team. Because of all that, I don’t have sympathy for him going public with, ‘I got depressed. I suffered depression early in COVID to the point where I couldn’t even go work out.’ Look, he’s the quarterback of America’s Team.”
Jace Prescott, the quarterback's older brother, played football at Northeastern State in Louisiana from 2008-2010. He was found dead April 24 in Orange, Texas.
DAK PRESCOTT: Cowboys QB on why he opened up on depression, brother’s suicide
Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott and head coach Mike McCarthy go through preseason practice in Frisco, Texas. (Photo: Brandon Wade, AP)
In an interview for an upcoming episode of "In Depth with Graham Bensinger," Prescott confirmed that his brother died by suicide.
“All throughout this quarantine and this offseason, I started experiencing emotions I’ve never felt before,” he told Bensinger. “Anxiety for the main one. And then, honestly, a couple of days before my brother passed, I would say I started experiencing depression. . I didn’t know necessarily what I was going through, to say the least, and hadn’t been sleeping at all.”
Though he didn't directly address Bayless' comments, Prescott said Thursday at practice that good leaders don't always have to appear tough.
“I think that is a fake leader,” Prescott said. “Being a leader is about being genuine and being real. As I said, if I wouldn't have talked about those things to the people I did, I wouldn't have realized my friends and a lot more people go through them. And that they are as common as they are…
I have news for Skip Bayless – many of his favorite athletic all time greats have suffered from depression.
“I don't care how big a person you are — if you are not mentally healthy and you’re not thinking the right way, then you are not going to be able to lead people the right way.”
Reaction on social media to Bayless' remarks was overwhelmingly negative.
Several high-profile professional athletes, such as Michael Phelps and Kevin Love, have recently come forward to discuss their battles with depression.
Fox Sports did not immediately respond to a request for comment from USA TODAY Sports.
Contributing: Jori Epstein
Horrified to see Skip Bayless’ comments about Dak Prescott’s grief and depression following his brother’s suicide. He clearly misunderstands depression, but he also misunderstands leadership. Prescott *is* being a leader by showing his vulnerability, in my opinion.
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