Sports analyst Skip Bayless attempted to clarify controversial remarks about Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott on Friday -- and appeared to double down.
Bayless, co-host of the FS1 morning sports talk show "Undisputed," came under fire on Thursday for questioning Prescott's toughness and leadership after the QB revealed he had struggled with anxiety and depression while coping with the coronavirus pandemic and his brother's recent suicide.
Bayless addressed the controversy during Friday's installment of the show, but he stopped well short of an apology and seemed to stick his guns.
"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. ...
"This is the final point -- the one I'm told was misconstrued by many. The only Dak depression I addressed on yesterday's show was from an interview he taped ... 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 help then."
The longtime TV talking head was reprimanded by his employers at Fox Sports on Thursday evening for what the network called "insensitive comments."
“The quarterback of an NFL team is the ultimate leadership position in sports,” Bayless explained to co-host Shannon Sharpe on Thursday. “You’re commanding a lot of young men and some older men, and they’re all looking at you to be their CEO, to be in charge of the football team. I don’t have sympathy for him going public with, ‘I got depressed.’”
Prescott responded without naming Bayless specifically, saying he wouldn't be doing his job as a leader if he weren't being honest about what he was going through.
Several current and former Cowboys rallied to Prescott's defense, as did athletes from all around the sports sphere.
Even FOX Sports rival ESPN appeared to throw shade at Bayless during Thursday night's episode of SportsCenter with Scott Van Pelt.
Bayless closed his Friday monologue by urging those struggling with depression to please seek help.
Bayless, formerly of ESPN as well as the Dallas Morning News, is no stranger to controversy and charges of trolling. He claimed in a 1996 book that former Cowboys quarterback Troy Aikman was gay, and has been among the most vociferous critics of polarizing athletes like Terrell Owens and Alex Rodriguez. Bayless was a Tim Tebow dead-ender long after it was apparent the former Florida star had limited prospects in the NFL, and has long been one of LeBron James' top media antagonists.