Sports commentator Skip Bayless was hit with backlash over comments made about Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott’s revelation that he’s experienced anxiety and depression in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and the recent suicide of his brother.
“All throughout this quarantine and this off-season, I started experiencing emotions I’ve never felt before,” Prescott said in an interview with “In Depth with Graham Bensinger” earlier this week. “Anxiety for the main one. And then, honestly, a couple of days before my brother passed, I would say I started experiencing depression.”
In his Fox Sports talk show “Undisputed”, Bayless slammed Prescott’s remarks, saying they were unbecoming of a quarterback tasked with leading one of the NFL’s most storied teams.
“You are commanding an entire franchise,” Bayless said on Thursday’s show, via The Wrap. “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’ and ‘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.”
After Bayless was hit with backlash, Fox Sports issued a statement indicating the company has “addressed” the “insensitive comments” with him.
“At Fox Sports, we are proud of Dak Prescott for publicly revealing his struggle with depression and mental health,” the channel. “No matter the cause of the struggle, Fox Sports believes Dak showed tremendous courage which is evident in both his leadership on the Dallas Cowboys and in his character off the field. We do not agree with Skip Bayless’ opinion on ‘Undisputed’ this morning. We have addressed the significance of this matter with Skip and how his insensitive comments were received by people internally at Fox Sports and our audience.”
Fox statement on Skip Bayless pic.twitter.com/GEr7rNnpX7
— Andrew Marchand (@AndrewMarchand) September 11, 2020
On Friday’s edition of “Undisputed”, Bayless was unapologetic while claiming his words were “misconstrued.”
“I want to reiterate some points I made yesterday on the show about Dak Prescott and the depression he discussed. As I strongly stated, I have great compassion for anyone suffering clinical depression, which is very real.
“And this is the final point, one I’m told was misconstrued by many, the only Dak depression I addressed on yesterday’s show was from an interview he taped with Graham Bensinger. Dak said that depression happened soon after the pandemic hit, early in the quarantine. I said yesterday that if Dak needed help for pandemic depression, he should have sought counselling then,” Bayless continued. “And again, if you are suffering from any form of depression, please seek help.”
Prescott responded to Skip Bayless’s comments on Thursday, telling reporters that “being a leader is about being genuine and being real”: “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.”