Latest News, NBA / Jan 4, 2013 / 3:00 pm

Royce White Is Getting Back In Shape But Says “Chances Are Very High” He Never Plays In The NBA

Royce White

It isn’t that Houston rookie forward Royce White wants every say regarding his anxiety disorder and its handling by the NBA. Talking to Sirius XM radio, White broke down his reasoning for why he’s stayed away from the team and its D-League affiliate. Simply put, he doesn’t trust the reasoning of Rockets management for why he should play in the absence of NBA protocol. And if a solution doesn’t work to his liking, he said “chances are very high” he never plays a game in his NBA career.

White’s situation is obviously not one the Rockets or the league wants to discuss ad nauseum. The situation doesn’t paint them in the most accommodating light, after all. But by not reacting to each new development (Kevin McHale was reportedly very wary of answering questions about White last week) it could actually help them. Minimizing the discussion into a one-sided one led by White transforms it into just a rant from an outsider — and worse, an outsider willingly staying that way. White’s response is to be as eloquent as possible and make connections to how would you feel? He says he wants medical personnel to have the ultimate decision in his case, not his GM.

As transcribed by the Houston Chronicle, White likened his situation to constructing a building without a building code or any standards. Would you feel safe to work there, he asks?

“I think that the chances are very high,” White said in an interview on Sirius/XM radio. “And I say that just like I said before the draft that the chances were very high that I didn’t even get drafted. Because business in America, as we all know, is about one thing and that’s convenience and efficiency. And oftentimes what the efficient thing to do is not the healthiest thing to do, right? That’s why we still sell cigarettes. It wouldn’t shock me if we couldn’t be logical and say a protocol is needed because it’ll be the hard thing to do. If that’s the case then so be it. I stand on what I say and I refuse to put myself in a hazardous situation to play a sport.”

“I don’t see that going to another team would help anything because no matter what team I go to a protocol is still going to need to be put in place,” White said. “It’s a league thing. The reality is that it is not Houston’s fault. As much as we always want to try and blame one side or the other and try and find the black and white in it, it’s not black and white. It’s gray. And they’ve been thrown into a position now where they’re forced to make things up as they go because a protocol has not been put in place for mental health up until this point. And that’s tough for anybody to do.

“If there were no safety or health codes on how to construct a building, the people who are going to try to build a building tomorrow are going to be in trouble. That’s just the reality here so I don’t really think going to another team is something that would be better. And it’s not something that I want to do. I want to play for Houston.”

“This is about – in general – who has executive authority in medical incidents or on every day operations because the reality here is that it’s just not logical for somebody like Daryl Morey, for example, who is my GM, to say yea or nay on anything regarding medical situations,” White said. “And that’s kind of where the rule stands now, is that a GM has the right to decline the medical recommendations of even their own doctors. And that’s just not safe to me. That’s just what I think.”

The Chronicle’s Jonathan Feigen reported that White has begun working out with a Rockets intern to get back into playing shape, which White later said was the first step, cleared by doctors, to a plausible road back to playing full-time. If he doesn’t, it wouldn’t be the first time this season the Rockets have overcome a roster turned nearly completely over.

H/t Ultimate Rockets

What do you think of his chances of ever playing in the NBA?

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  • RBW

    White appears to be trying to use his phobia to try to manipulate and control the Rockets. If I were Rockets management I would suspend him without pay until he decides to either retire or overcome his fear. Everyone has fear of something, but people either ignore it or defeat it. White has decided to let fear defeat him, but has found he can avoid a stigma and use it to control others who buy into the idea that it is a “health” issue. I could actually have sympathy for White if weren’t trying to use his surrender to control others.

  • http://twitter.com/Seola1 Mary

    The problem is, this isn’t just “fear” and he has nothing to “overcome”. Most pro-leagues are now initiating team psychologists and such – the NHL, MLB and NFL are all adding mental health staff (MLB was first on the scene after Donnie Moore, no one in house but they initiated a few programs to get it going and expanded their role and added mental health as a justifiable IR list move through Scott Schoeneweis). The NHL has fared better, though the MLB beat them to the start, they have gone much farther, especially in light of the recent suicides/OD deaths like Rypien and Boogaard.

    The NFL has made great strides in the last 5 years and have gone into overdrive after Belcher. However the NBA – one of the pro leagues in the world who don’t really recognize mental illness and have no agreements with players to require a doctor clear them to play. My son is bipolar – do you really want a guy who is vested in wanting money to make decisions on whether he goes out to play? What if he went off his meds and was unstable? I don’t know the nature of this guy’s anxiety disorder – but since it wasn’t hidden from anyone, the Rockets are the ones who took the chance and they should have been prepared to have mental health doctors evaluation him, not some front office honcho.

    I’m sure it’s cool for you to have any number of athletes just go and commit suicide, we can’t let that get in the way of a Championship season! I mean, how DARE he wait for clearance from the doctors who are treating him and play anyway? Doesn’t matter if he dies, we’ve got insurance!

  • RBW

    Bologna. You can give it a technical name like anxiety disorder or whatever you like, but it is still rooted in basic human everyday fears that are not being dealt with rationally. People like you are not truly compassionate because you don't really want the root cause of his problems solved. You are more interested in sounding compassionate. People like you make those types of problems worse by legitimizing submission to fear (e.g., fear of flying) as a medical problem. You want everything treated with medications.
    The fact that you would even mention suicides in the Royce White context tells me maybe you should consider some meds for yourself. The good news is the Rockets have now taken the course of action I was in favor of so now White will be forced to face his problem and make a decision. I have a good Bible verse for your consideration: Rev. 21:8. You would like to see White keep his fear and anxiety problems and take medicine. I want him to face them and overcome them (Rev. 2:7, 11). I believe in TRUE compassion, not your kind.