Terry Bradshaw said he waited to publicly announce his cancer diagnosis because he wanted to avoid being pitied, but decided to speak out when he says people labeled him as an “embarrassment” after appearing to struggle with his breathing during an episode of Fox NFL Sunday.
Bradshaw shared his diagnosis during an Oct. 2 broadcast of the Sunday football show, after the analyst and co-host noticeably stumbled over his words while talking, leading social media users to comment on whether Bradshaw should retire.
“I couldn’t breathe. That’s when everybody notices,” Bradshaw reflected in a Today interview with NBC News correspondent Harry Smith. “Social media went, ‘Get rid of him. He needs to be off the air. He’s an embarrassment.’ And I was like, ‘Embarrassment? I got cancer.’”
Bradshaw shared that it wasn’t just publicly discussing his diagnoses, which included bladder and skin cancer in the same year, that took him a while, either. He added that it also “took me a long time before I told my family.”
“I didn’t talk about it because I didn’t want pity. I didn’t talk about it because a lot of celebrities — unfortunately, I’m one of those — when they say this, I think the perception around America with all the millions of people is, ‘Aw, look at him. Bless his heart. He has cancer. Well, my husband died of cancer!’” Bradshaw explained. “I didn’t want that.”
During the Oct. 2 Fox NFL Sunday broadcast, Bradshaw confirmed that he is now cancer-free but that in November 2021, he had been diagnosed with bladder cancer and treated at the Yale University Medical Center. But in March, he was diagnosed again, this time after doctors found a tumor linked to a rare form of skin cancer known as Merkel cell carcinoma.
“Folks, I may not look like my old self, but I feel like my old self,” he said at the time. “I’m cancer free. I’m feeling great and over time I’m going to be back to where I normally am. So I appreciate your prayers and your concern.”