With the longstanding perception of football players as “tough guys” and the stigma that still surrounds mental health issues, Jamal Adams should be commended for acknowledging his bout with depression.
The Seahawks safety recently joined Patrick Peterson and Bryant McFadden on the All Things Podcast where he revealed a battle with depression during his time with the Jets.
“I fought depression in New York, and I’m man enough to say it” Adams told Peterson and McFadden. “There’s been so many times where I’ve come home after a loss, a tough loss and just sat in my room in the dark. No phone, no TV. And (my dad) would walk in and be like, ‘hey man, you alright?’
“He hated to see me like that. It killed my pops so much, I come to find out he was calling my agent at the time and saying, ‘hey man, I don’t like seeing my son like this, I need him out of this situation.’ “
According to Adams it was the Jets losing, their culture and even a lack of interpersonal skills from former general manager Mike Maccagnan that may have contributed to his battle with depression. Adams did add that he didn’t believe Maccagnan’s actions were intentional, but the former Jets safety was still bothered by the lack of leadership from the person in charge.
Adams’ admission came after his mental health was questioned by WFAN morning co-host Boomer Esiason a few months ago. Shortly after Adams was dealt by the Jets to Seattle, Esiason recklessly connected the safety’s desire to get out of New York with bipolar disorder.
“Jamal is a great football player,” Esiason said on WFAN in August. “I don’t know if he’s a bipolar person. I don’t know what other issues he may have in his life, but what he did here with the Jets was an absolute disgrace.”
After Dak Prescott admitted he struggled with depression during the offseason, FS1 host Skip Bayless belittled the Cowboys quarterback for what he considered to be “weakness.” Prescott lost his brother to suicide in April, and combined with a global shift because of the COVID-19 pandemic, life took a toll on the quarterback.
“You know and I know, this sport that you play, it is dog eat dog,” Bayless said during a September episode of Undisputed. “It is no compassion. No quarter given on the football field. If you reveal publicly any little weakness, it can affect your team’s ability to believe in you in the toughest spot.”
Those claims make it difficult to end the stigma surrounding mental health. But despite accusations that he is bipolar and despite seeing Prescott get criticized for speaking up about his depression, credit Adams for his willingness to open up about mental health.