Ahead of the NFL season, Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott opened up about his struggled with mental health earlier during lockdown, around the time that his brother tragically took his own life. While he faced some pretty despicable criticism from FS1's Skip Bayless, most have been extremely supportive of Prescott, including Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
During Wednesday's press conference, The Athletic's Matt Schneidman asked the Packers quarterback about Prescott's admission, as well the value of high-profile athletes and stars talking about their own battles with depression and other mental health struggles. Rodgers agrees that it is extremely helpful in building a connection to the public and destigmatizing the issues, which long went under-addressed in society. He also took a pretty thinly veiled shot at Bayless in the process.
"I think it's great, I saw what Dak said and I applaud him," Rodgers said. "I think it's phenomenal, him speaking out, because that's true courage and that's true strength. It's not a weakness at all. And anybody who attacks it... other people's opinions of ourselves have really nothing to do with us. And other people's opinions of Dak have nothing to do with him. That's their own insecurities to deal with their own s--t, probably."
"I think it's a beautiful thing when people start talking about it, because at the bare minimum it makes you more relatable to people. That we have the same struggles, and the same issues, and the same desires to grow and change and see things in a better, positive light that so many people out there do. And I think the more that we can connect with people, especially with conversations like this, the better our society can be moving forward as a connected society built around love and positivity."
Rodgers also discussed how others, like Cleveland Cavaliers forward Kevin Love, may have gotten slightly different treatment when they opened up about depression years ago. The bright side of it is that it does seem like public sentiments are shifting in a big way.
"There's a weird stigma around it... to either ask for help or admit you're struggling with things, or admit negative thoughts about yourself. I think the strength is taking care of yourself and taking care of your mind and understanding how important your thoughts are because they become things, and understanding how important positivity is, and your attitude, and waking up each day with the right focus and the right mindset."
As Aaron Rodgers acknowledges, it is good for guys like him and Dak Prescott to discuss these things openly, because it can encourage others who need help to do the same, before things take a bad turn. Kudos to all of the star athletes and other celebrities who do so. [
Thought I’d ask Aaron Rodgers today about mental health, specifically what he thinks the value of people like him and Dak Prescott talking about their headspace, happiness and mental well-being has in destigmatizing talking about that stuff.
His full answer: pic.twitter.com/OtZ4kN1915
— Matt Schneidman (@mattschneidman) September 23, 2020