“At FOX Sports, we are proud of Dak Prescott for publicly revealing his struggle with depression and mental health,” the network said in a statement. “No matter the cause of the struggles, 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.”
Bayless addressed the criticism of his comments during Friday’s “Undisputed,” saying his comments were “misconstrued” and that he only meant that Prescott should have sought help when he first started feeling depressed during the novel coronavirus pandemic and not waited.
“When you have thoughts that you’ve never had, I think that’s more so than anything a chance to realize it and recognize it, to be vulnerable about it,” Prescott said. “Talked to my family, talked to the people around me simply as I did at the time. Some of them obviously had dealt with it before, was able to have those conversations and then reach out further just to more people.
“I think being open about it and not holding those feelings in was one of the better things for me.”
Thursday on “Undisputed,” Bayless said he did not feel any sympathy for Prescott and said the quarterback’s admission of depression was a sign of weakness for someone who was supposed to be a team leader.
“He’s the quarterback of America’s team,” Bayless said. “The sport that he plays 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 spot.”
Prescott revealed to Bensinger that he already was suffering from pandemic-caused depression when his brother — still distraught over their mother’s death from colon cancer in 2013 — killed himself at his Texas home in April.
“He had a lot of burdens on him,” Prescott said of his brother. “He had a lot of tough things, and my sense of saying that is it showed me how vulnerable we have to be as humans, how open we have to be.
“Because our adversities, our struggles, what we go through is always gonna be too much for ourselves and maybe too much for even one or two people, but never too much for a community or too much for people in the family that you love. So you have to share these things.”
Prescott responded to Bayless’s comments on Thursday, saying any leader who does not admit his feelings is “fake” and that “being a leader is about being genuine and being real.”
“I think that is important — to be vulnerable, to be genuine and to be transparent,” Prescott said. “That goes a long way when you are a leader and your voice is being heard by so many and you can inspire.”
Prescott’s other brother, Tad, also responded to Bayless on Twitter, saying “I don’t know the man but the fact so many athletes have publicly shared their dislike for him says it all.” He also included an emoji of a middle finger.
ESPN’s Scott Van Pelt saluted Prescott on Thursday night’s “SportsCenter” and said that anyone who can’t muster compassion for him isn’t “worth your time, or your concern.”