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Rockets beginning to fine Royce White for his absence

Nov 15, 2012, 11:03 PM EDT

Royce White AP

On the surface, the impasse that has apparently been reached between the Houston Rockets and their rookie first round draft pick Royce White seems complicated, and the details seemingly make it difficult to choose sides.

But look a little deeper, and you’ll see that it’s the team, and not the player, that’s truly the victim in this process.

White has a self-disclosed anxiety disorder; it’s complicated his willingness to travel with the team, and has affected even his ability to perform the basic job requirement of simply showing up to work each day as scheduled.

White has gone on Twitter to rant about how he feels unsupported, and meanwhile, the Rockets are dealing with the reality that they may have wasted a valuable draft pick on someone who may not have any intention of trying to make it a priority to succeed at the NBA level.

The latest twist in the drama between the rookie and the organization is the team’s stance that they will begin fining White for every day he’s absent. Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle has the details:

The conflict between the Rockets and rookie Royce White is escalating, with no end in sight.

While blaming the Rockets for failing to consistently support his treatment for anxiety issues, White is being fined every day he remains away from the team or chooses not to attend sessions with a therapist the club has arranged for him, a person with knowledge of the situation said.

White and Rockets general manager Daryl Morey have declined interview requests.

It was brave of White to disclose his disorder initially, but at this point, it would seem he’s using it as a crutch. The Rockets organization can’t possibly provide support if White doesn’t show up for work, and his accusations that the team won’t support him are coming from afar, while he continues to refuse to report as scheduled.

The only choice the team has is to fine White now, in hopes that he’ll realize that he needs to at least make the effort here to try to work through his issues. We’re all rooting for this to work, but if White continues to rant on Twitter about his situation and not show up to try to work things out, that support from those observing the situation will only deteriorate at an extremely rapid rate.

  1. howiefeltersnatch - Nov 15, 2012 at 11:13 PM

    This is the first I’ve heard of this (I’m a Clevelander and have purposely avoided basketball for a couple years now) but good lord, if you have that bad of a disorder where you can’t even show up for work, you shouldn’t be in the league.

    • captainwisdom8888 - Nov 16, 2012 at 9:16 AM


  2. jeffw - Nov 15, 2012 at 11:34 PM

    F-Royce White. If he can’t do a job that requires him to travel, then he should go get a job that doesn’t involve… you know… TRAVEL! He should solve his own problem by getting a job that keeps him local and stop making his problem everyone else’s.
    For those that believe that the Rockets owe him some sort of special privileges, they don’t. They owe him a paycheck for doing the job he was hired to do. Since he’s not doing it, then they don’t owe him jackshirt.

  3. metalhead65 - Nov 15, 2012 at 11:41 PM

    I would not fine him I just would not pay him untill he does what he is told. I am not sure how they can lose a grievance on something like that. I mean is there another job out there that you still get paid whether show up for work or not? he has a problem and the rockets have a plan in place to help and he refuses to show up so how are they the bad guys here? no release or trade either unless they gey a offer they can’t refuse, they put time and effort into drafting him and trying to help so why should another team benefit? he plays for the rockets or none if I were in charge,of course if I were in charge I would not have drafted the wacko to begin with.

    • paleihe - Nov 16, 2012 at 12:37 AM

      They have to pay him. Since he’s a first round draft pick, he gets a guaranteed contract. So, his salary is guaranteed.

      • andyhr17 - Nov 16, 2012 at 8:19 AM

        I love how you get thumbs down’s for bringing facts to a discussion.

      • bougin89 - Nov 16, 2012 at 10:46 AM

        Guaranteed for skill and injury but not guaranteed if he just doesn’t show up. If he were to retire he wouldn’t get that money.

      • paleihe - Nov 16, 2012 at 11:42 AM

        Retiring isn’t the same as not showing up.

      • bougin89 - Nov 16, 2012 at 1:14 PM

        No it isn’t but Royce’s contract is not guaranteed if he just doesn’t show up. Their is a difference between retiring and going AWOL but just because Royce signed a contract doesn’t mean he is automatically entitled to that money. His contract is guaranteed for skill and injury so he could be released or get injured and he’ll get the full amount but he literally has to show up unless he has worked something out with the team.

  4. timb12 - Nov 15, 2012 at 11:45 PM

    It’s so strange how he’s managed to turn himself into the heel in all of this. 3 months ago every one was on his side hoping he could work it out. But I guess all of us, along with the Rockets, are running out of patience. I’d really like to hear all the details of how the Rockets aren’t meeting his needs. He has to try to meet them halfway on some of these issues.

  5. therookie773 - Nov 15, 2012 at 11:55 PM

    Is there a local YMCA position available for this kid? I know disorders are awful but come on, give me the chance to be in the NBA I’d effing sky dive to each city.

  6. 1972wasalongtimeago - Nov 15, 2012 at 11:55 PM

    Shouldn’t they fine the guy who drafted him?

  7. genericcommenter - Nov 16, 2012 at 12:03 AM

    A couple comments are clueless but some of you got the point. He’s a talented guy with a disorder who managed to latch on to a team that is attempting to be supportive. He has to take the initiative and at least let them think he is willing to receive the help.

    I am sympathetic because I have a very similar disorder, but I have never been in a situation to have a supportive employer that wants to help me and pay me millions of bucks.

  8. blueintown - Nov 16, 2012 at 12:07 AM

    They must have missed the part on his resume that says: Fear of flying in addition to anxiety disorder sometimes so crippling it renders me unable to leave the house.

    The dude is sick. Not lazy, not belligerent; he is mentally ill. You don’t hire a raging alcoholic to work in your brewery and hope it works out okay.

    • texxxasmade - Nov 16, 2012 at 1:12 PM

      Even if you cross your fingers?

  9. yousuxxors - Nov 16, 2012 at 12:09 AM

    Blueintown …. Perfectly put.

    • captainwisdom8888 - Nov 16, 2012 at 9:27 AM

      So just as you wouldn’t hire a drunk to work a brewery, you don’t give a guy with an anxiety disorder a spot on an nba roster? I don’t know if I buy that.

      The dude is a basketball player. A first round pick. What do you think that one thing is in his life that he does most comfortably, it’s play basketball. Keeps the mics out of his face, the media out of his corner, and get him back to doing the normal day to day things that got him to the nba. The media storm on this issue only gains strength with his continued absence

  10. sunsation3413 - Nov 16, 2012 at 12:31 AM

    If he wanted to get well he would find a way to get help. Instead he sits around tweeting about poor me expecting someone to come save him. Put you big boy pants on and start trying to deal with your issues or you will be done in this league before you even get started.

  11. socal9er - Nov 16, 2012 at 12:37 AM

    Throw on a straight jacket, get on the bus and go to practice. Otherwise..wasted opportunity of a lifetime and you’ll teaching 8 th graders in Minnesota

    • blueintown - Nov 16, 2012 at 12:43 AM

      Judging by that post, you’ll probably be one of his students.

  12. scalfor3 - Nov 16, 2012 at 1:46 AM

    I hope he figures his sh*t out and makes it, whether it be in Houston or elsewhere. Kid can ball.

    • skinsfanwill - Nov 16, 2012 at 9:04 AM

      He was a wasted fantasy pick. I thought he would be a matchup nightmare for opponents not named Lebron. Now I gotta troll the waiver wire.

      • scalfor3 - Nov 16, 2012 at 11:21 AM

        Lebron is actually who his game is most similar too. Obviously not as good, but the combo of size, speed, handles, passing ability…

  13. adoombray - Nov 16, 2012 at 3:42 AM

    What the media fails to understand is that the twitter rants are just a part of the disease. By “turning on him” as the media seems to be doing, you guys are all missing the real story.

    I have severe anxiety disorder myself. As thousands of others who share this pain will tell you, we get really defensive sometimes. We think that people are out to get us even if they aren’t. We rage against those we feel holding us back. Anxiety is worry, worry is stress, and all humans say and do stupid things under stress. I know in the era of 24 hour news cycles, a tweet is a super huge deal, but what Royce is doing is no worse than me throwing up a facebook status when I’m stressed out and need someone to hear it. Sometimes a man cries out. Royce unfortunately doesn’t have the benefit of being able to delete the post in the morning when the head clears. It’s already reblogged and reposted and cache’d several thousand times before he can pull up another web page in another tab.

    I choose not to medicate myself for my issues, but that’s after many years of therapy. I choose not to make excuses. To a certain extent the criticism is valid that the disease shouldn’t be used as a crutch. I, however, am 30 years old and i’ve been dealing with it all my life. Royce White is 21 years old. How mature were you at 21 years old? how much crap did you have figured out? I did an awful lot worse than complain about my job and I definitely had absolutely no handle on my disease at that age. I also didn’t seek treatment for it until I was 25, believing I didn’t need help, I just needed time. Seriously, what 21 year old wants to be told how to live his life and what’s best for him? I can’t absolve the guy for missing the therapist sessions, he needs to go. But being a first round pick doesn’t make you less human ; if anything, it makes being human even harder.

  14. thesportsguru7 - Nov 16, 2012 at 12:18 PM

    You know Royce, not to scare you or anything, but it’s way more dangerous to drive to McDonalds to flip burgers than it is to fly in a plane.

  15. cmehustle - Nov 16, 2012 at 4:48 PM

    A few mil would clear up just about any disorders that I have currently.

  16. kirschmania - Nov 17, 2012 at 7:08 AM

    I’m from Minnesota and trust me, we KNOW he’s a headcase. Good luck Houston with all that.

  17. twonis - Nov 17, 2012 at 10:02 AM

    I have a friend with severe anxiety disorder and I can sympathize that it is no picnic. However, Royce White was a diva wash-out at U of M who basically got run out of school for his conduct towards the team and because he was stealing from kids in the dorms. During one instance his coach basically told him just to keep a low profile and what did he do? Released a self-produced “highlight video” on Youtube. He is willfully defiant and falls back on his illness when it is convenient to him. Notice that he wasn’t getting playing time and then getting demoted to D league and the next thing you know he’s claiming the Rockets aren’t following through on their promise to help with his anxiety disorder. If he would have started against Detroit he would be singing a different tune.

    Waste of time and effort. Basketballs Ryan Leaf. Cut him loose.

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