Fox Sports released a statement Thursday evening condemning comments by Skip Bayless on Undisputed earlier in the day equating mental illness with weakness and an inability to lead.
Bayless criticized Dak Prescott after the Dallas Cowboys quarterback said on In Depth with Graham Bensinger he suffered from depression and anxiety following the suicide of his older brother this offseason.
"At Fox Sports we are proud of Dak Prescott for publicly revealing his struggle with depression and mental health," a statement from Fox read. "...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 seemingly understood he would offend many with his comments before expressing his full thoughts (h/t Awful Announcing's Andrew Bucholtz):
"I’m going to disqualify myself right up front on this question, I’m the wrong one to ask about this when it comes to him as the face of that franchise, of America’s Team. 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 a NFL team, you know this as well as I do or better than I do, it’s the ultimate leadership position in sports, am I right about that? You are commanding an entire NFL franchise, what’s the roster at now, 53 guys? …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.'”
Bayless' comments came on World Suicide Prevention Day, which is annually observed September 10.
"All throughout this quarantine and this offseason, I started experiencing emotions I've never felt before," Prescott 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. 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."
Bayless believes admitting that makes Prescott a weak leader. The quarterback disagreed in his own comments Thursday, saying being a captain means being honest.
"No, I think that's a fake leader," Prescott told reporters. "Being a leader is about being genuine and being real."
Bayless is typically active on social media but has refrained from commenting on Prescott in tweets since his Thursday morning show.