FS1 analyst Skip Bayless, a San Antonio Spurs fan himself, made some tone-deaf comments about mental health and DeMar DeRozan didn’t appreciate that.
Few professional athletes have been as outspoken about mental health than San Antonio Spurs star DeMar DeRozan. It’s been said on multiple occasions that DeRozan opened the door to the conversation of mental health issues in the landscape of professional sports in the United States. NBA Champion Kevin Love has detailed his struggles with depression and credits DeRozan with inspiring him to open up about his own battle.
This is why it wasn’t surprising to see him react to the foolish comments made by FS1 analyst Skip Bayless in regards to Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott. During a recent candid interview, Prescott opened up with his own battles with mental health. Prescott’s brother committed suicide in April, just after the start of the global pandemic that forced us all into our homes and out of public. The NFL’s runner-up in total passing yards last season is one of few professional football players to address the subject and people like Bayless are the reason for it.
Bayless, who is a self-proclaimed Spurs fan, used this to question Prescott’s leadership ability. He cited that it could be viewed as a sign of weakness to open up about these complexities and claimed that he has no sympathy for Prescott because of the NFL’s competitive nature.
DeRozan didn’t take kindly to Bayless’ treatment of Prescott at that moment and responded via Twitter in support of the NFL MVP candidate.
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To say that depression is a sign of weakness presents a sheltered viewpoint from someone who doesn’t understand what mental health issues truly mean. Just because Dak makes millions to play football doesn’t mean he doesn’t have his own issues behind closed doors. It doesn’t matter if you’re the richest man in the world or clawing for scraps at the bottom of the socioeconomic hierarchy — Mental health issues do not discriminate.
Part of being a Spurs fan is accepting that the culture of the team means far more than simply winning basketball games. To be a Spurs fan is to accept a code of ethics that comes with the team — Be a good person, show kindness to others, have empathy and strive to be better. With comments like these, Bayless continues to prove that he doesn’t represent this fanbase in the slightest, even if he brings them up in conversation every so often.
DeRozan, on the other hand, is a guiding light for the Spurs’ culture. He embodies everything that San Antonio wants from its players. He uses his public platform to promote the growth of both himself and others. Regardless of what happens this offseason with his player option, DeRozan will be remembered fondly in San Antonio for the personality traits he brings to the team.
DeMar is right: Vulnerability doesn’t make you weak. It makes you a lot stronger than someone who goes on national television to downplay something he knows nothing about.
Be like the Spurs players and staff; Strive to be a better person every day. #GoSpursGo