It’s Not Weak to Struggle With Depression
Skip Bayless is a shock jock tv analyst that gets paid extreme amounts of money to be controversial. I don't think he believes everything he says, but he says it anyway because it's his job to do that. It's mostly inane stuff about Michael Jordan and Lebron James or that Tim Tebow is the next Brett Farve.
Every once in awhile though, Bayless uses his incredibly large platform and says something downright dangerous. Like today when he said the quarterback of the Dallas Cowboys Dak Prescott was a weaker man and leader because he admitted he struggled with depression.
“You are commanding an entire franchise… 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," Bayless said on his show Undisputed, "‘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.”
Bayless said more, but that's the gist of his statements.
I don't want to focus on Bayless here because that's not the point and shouldn't be the focus. The focus should be that the prevailing sentiment in sports is that struggle equals weakness when that's just not the truth. I'm sure there are thousands of voices that are more eloquent on this subject than I am, but I respect Dak Prescott more today than I did yesterday.
For Prescott to speak out on his own depression in the face of his brother's suicide is brave and transparent. There's no such thing as invincibility in the real world. We as humans are broken and hurt. Dak Prescott knows that it takes iron to sharpen iron and if someone out there can look at Prescott and his success and know that he's just as broken as them and still putting one foot in front of the other that's powerful.
People like Bayless have a singular focus on sports being sports. We're past that. Athletes have always been role models. I wanted to be just like Larry Allen when I was a kid. I wore the same plastic helmet and Troy Aikman jersey as every other kid in Texas did in the early '90s. If I don't have to struggle with my depression alone because I know the quarterback of my team is going through it too, then that's powerful.
Several years ago a friend of mine reached out to me on Facebook after several years of not being in touch. I knew he was going through a rough time personally but didn't realize the severity of the situation. We exchanged a message or two and I got busy. I went back to invite him to lunch but before I got around to it he took his own life. If only he knew he wasn't alone. If I had reached out sooner.
I'm just one man with a very small circle. Dak Prescott can reach Millions.
Even as I write this I know I can do more. Do more like Dak does more.
Dak Prescott is more than the Star on his helmet. He's a human being and his personal struggle can help a community of football fans and athletes who grew up being told to, "toughen up and quit crying" and "to just rub some dirt on it", heal and grow.
If you need to talk to someone, reach out. If someone reaches out to you, be open.
If you don't have someone to talk to call this number: 800-273-8255