This week, Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott admitted in an interview that he became depressed in the early stages of the coronavirus pandemic, which occurred roughly concurrent with the April 24 death of his brother, Jace, which Prescott said was a suicide.
Sports columnist Skip Bayless, co-host of “Skip and Shannon: Undisputed,” slammed Prescott for publicly admitting he had become depressed, snapping, “I don’t have sympathy for him going public with, ‘I got depressed … I suffered depression, early in COVID, to the point that I couldn’t even go work out.’ Look, he’s the quarterback of America’s team.”
Dak Prescott was interviewed by sports journalist Graham Bensinger when he stated, “All throughout this quarantine and this offseason, I started experiencing emotions I’ve never felt before. Anxiety for the main one. And then, honestly, a couple of days before my brother passed, I would say I started experiencing depression. And to the point of, I didn’t want to work out anymore. I didn’t know necessarily what I was going through, to say the least, and hadn’t been sleeping at all.”
Speaking of his brother Jace, Dak Prescott told Bensinger, “I mean, obviously tears and tears and tears. I mean, I sat there and tried to gather what had happened, and wanted to ask why for so many reasons … and as much as you want to ask why as much as this, I mean, I know my brother, and as we said, he had a lot of burdens on him.” He noted that Jace had been the chief caregiver to their mother Peggy as she suffered with colon cancer before she died in 2013.
During training camp, Dak Prescott said of Jace, “He meant a lot to my family. Meant a lot to me. Part of [the] reason I am a quarterback. When I was a little kid, he was the reason I first started throwing the football. It has been a tough year. Been a tough year for me personally. Been a tough year for my family. Been a tough year for this country and this world. It has all been tough.”
Bayless stated, “I’m going to ask our audience to feel free to go ahead and condemn me, if you choose, as cold-blooded and insensitive on this issue; I have deep compassion for clinical depression, but when it comes to the quarterback of an NFL team you know this as well I — better than I do. It’s the ultimate leadership position in sports, am I right about that?”
Co-host Shannon Sharpe murmured, “Um-hm.”
Bayless continued, “You are commanding an entire franchise. What’s the roster, now, is it 53 still?
Sharpe said, “53, but I think they got like 15 practice squad guys.”
But you’re commanding a lot of young men and some older men. And 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 that I couldn’t even go work out.” Look, he’s the quarterback of America’s team.You know and I know, this sport that you play, it is dog eat dog. It is no compassion. No quarter given on the football field. If you reveal publicly any little weakness, it can affect your team’s ability to believe in you in the toughest spots and it definitely could encourage others on the other side to come after you.
Apprised of Bayless’ comments, Dak Prescott responded:
I think being a leader is about being genuine and being real. If I wouldn’t have talked about those things to the people I did I wouldn’t realize that I, my fiends and a lot more people go through them, and they are as common as they are. I don’t think for one second leaders are not, and no matter how big of a person you are, if you’re not mentally healthy. … If you’re not thinking the right way then you’re not going to be able to lead people the right way. So, before I can lead, I got to make sure my mind’s in the right place to do that, and lead people to where they want to me. I think it’s important to be vulnerable, to be genuine, to be transparent. I think that goes a long way when you’re a leader and when your voice is being heard by so many, and you can inspire.
“I got the help I needed, and I was very open about it. … Emotions can overcome you if you don’t do something about it,” Prescott continued. “Mental health is a huge issue and it’s a real thing in our world right now, especially the world we live in where everything is as viral and everyone is part of the media, I guess you can say, and can get on social media and be overcome with emotions or be overcome with the thoughts of other people and allow that to fill into their heads when those things aren’t necessarily true, whether it’s getting likes on Instagram or something being viewed or being bullied or whatever it may be. All of those things can put thoughts into your head about yourself or about your situation in life that aren’t true. I think that it’s huge. I think it’s huge to talk; I think it’s huge to get help and it saves lives.”
Prescott’s brother Tad added: “Thank you so much to so many for your continued support of @dak and myself. I have no words on the comments made by @RealSkipBayless. I don’t know the man but the fact so many athletes have publicly shared their dislike for him says it all.”
Thank you so much to so many for your continued support of @dak and myself. I have no words on the comments made by @RealSkipBayless I don’t know the man but the fact so many athletes have publicly shared their dislike for him says it all 🖕🏾@RealSkipBayless & @undisputed
— Tad Prescott (@86Prescott) September 10, 2020
Video of Bayless below:
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