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Royce White says he is close to agreement, return to Rockets

Jan 23, 2013, 4:35 PM EDT

Royce White AP

After a lot of negotiations — and the posturing that comes with negotiations — it appears Royce White and the Houston Rockets may be close to a mental health protocol that would have him back with the team and it’s D-League affiliate soon.

White confirmed that in a conversation on a Houston radio program, reports Jonathan Feigen at the Houston Chronicle.

In a call in to a morning show on 97.9 The Box, White said he plans to report to the D-League on Feb. 11, pending “paper work” on a plan with the team.

According to a person with knowledge of the plan, the Rockets are close to making an announcement in which White would return to the team under a written agreement that includes key elements of the protocols that White wanted to have as an addendum to his contract.

White sufferers from a generalized anxiety disorder, a mental illness that causes someone to worry irrationally about everyday things. Part of that for him is a fear of flying. What is generally done to help manage the disorder is to put in place a schedule and routine that are familiar.

No flights and a routine schedule are hard things for an NBA franchise to accommodate.

What White ultimately wanted was for independent doctors to be able to overrule the team on issues concerning his health, while the team was reluctant to give up that control. And, so we had a negotiation. One where White’s own rants on twitter and letters did not normally help his public perception.

But White has never sounded bitter when speaking about it.

“Everybody wants to make it seem like wild, wild west standoff between me and the Rockets. That’s not the case here. There has been an issue that’s been identified. Mental health is not descriptive enough in CBA (collective bargaining agreement) and UPC (uniform player contract.) It being so vague makes us make it up as we go. There’s no protocol. We need to rectify that to make sure the environment is safe. If we’re making it up as we go, … that’s probably not the safest thing.”

White would start in the D-League and could eventually come back up to the Rockets. Houston drafted him in the first round last year out of Iowa State.

  1. mungman69 - Jan 23, 2013 at 4:42 PM

    Mental disease is real. He should try to find an everyday job.

  2. dylude - Jan 23, 2013 at 4:49 PM

    The main sticking point for most Rockets fans is that Royce isn’t allowed to immediately begin playing with the Rockets because it could set a bad precedent. Most of our rookies including current players Marcus Morris and Patrick Patterson spent months and months in the D-League having impressive games before they were called up to the Rockets. …..Even Jeremy Lin before we first cut him. So as long as Royce isn’t using his mental illness to circumvent our very successful farm system, we’ll welcome him back with open arms…. to Rio Grande Valley for the rest of the season. (Which is better because of the less hectic travel requirements).

    Rockets teammates don’t even know this guy, when we see them around in Houston we always ask about Royce and the responses I’ve gotten are: “Who?” “Doesn’t return my texts.” & “Hope he takes care of himself.” Nothing warm ever, they clearly don’t communicate. He needs to earn his way back into that locker room and our D League team is the way to do it.

    Lastly, I thought any side contract between a team and a player violated the CBA…. Clarification?

  3. smoochytherhino - Jan 23, 2013 at 4:50 PM

    Hey man, the team flies in an airplane to its games. If you’re afraid of flying, and the team doesn’t want to pay for you take a bus and deal with those logistics, they shouldn’t have to.

    No one things a fear of flying is a purposeful thing done to annoy your employer. It’s obviously a real mental issue. But just because technology allows us to identify the area of the brain that causes your behavioral issues doesn’t mean a team should have to comply with everything you need to function.

    Find another team that will deal with it or find a different job.

    • smoochytherhino - Jan 23, 2013 at 4:51 PM

      And I say that with all sympathy for the guy. But let’s be realistic here; it’s not the team’s responsibility to take that on.

  4. bayrich - Jan 23, 2013 at 4:54 PM

    So sick of hearing about this guy stop being a little girl and man up this is real life the worlds not pretty

    • badintent - Jan 24, 2013 at 12:54 AM

      he can get on the job traing for his next job.. at the laundry mat. White, the dirty jocks go in the little baskets, the shirts in the big one. Real lfe,Real problems

  5. fordman84 - Jan 23, 2013 at 5:09 PM

    Sounds to me like agoraphobia. People think it just means fear of the outdoors or open spaces. Not at all, and I feel for what this guy goes through. On top of it all, this can be helped with medication but the medication needed is probably on the banned substance list.

    • metalhead65 - Jan 23, 2013 at 7:00 PM

      sounds to me like he just wants to get paid without earning it and is using being crazy as a crutch. he was happy and crying and thankful the rockets took a chance on him but then realized he would not be babied the way he was he college so started making demands he knew they would not agree to. hey they are paying for your treatment then they pick the doctor and you do what they say not what you want them to. if he is paying for treatment something tells me he won’t have such a big problem playing by the same rules everyone else does.

  6. pacific123ocean - Jan 23, 2013 at 5:21 PM

    Good for him. No more excuses, it’s time to put up or shut up!

  7. mogogo1 - Jan 23, 2013 at 5:54 PM

    I thought they’d already come to an agreement at the very beginning about him flying? Did something change? I can sympathize with the guy, but how “routine” a schedule does he require? NBA seasons really are pretty routine in their own way–travel is always basically the same, shoot-arounds and practices, arriving so early for games, etc. Royce was able to make it work in college while simultaneously taking classes. If anything, there’s probably less moving parts when it’s just basketball to worry about.

  8. boscoesworld - Jan 23, 2013 at 6:09 PM

    Sounds to me like he wants the permission to smoke a blunt or pop a few valium before a flight. Where does “safety” come into it. I have GAD and I am the least dangerous person I know. Mark my words. This is all about the green. I’m not talking green backs either.

  9. southsidegroovin281 - Jan 23, 2013 at 6:53 PM

    Royce White first day back: “I’m not gonna do what everyone thinks I’m going to do..which is FLIP OUT MAN!”

    Go Rockets!

  10. sportsnut101 - Jan 23, 2013 at 7:46 PM

    hes lucky hes still on the team yes hes owed money no matter what but the rockets job here is to make sure he comes to practice games n team fuctions it doesnt say in his contract they have to babysit him there doing it cuz its a professional team n they wanna show they care about their players

    but just to stick it to him i would leave him in d league rest of season unless somehow he blows up the dleague

  11. dferezy - Jan 23, 2013 at 8:03 PM

    I think Royce has a great stance here. All he wants is what the Rockets originally agreed to in writing. Good for him for refusing to play until they got something on paper. Now I just can’t wait to see him on the court and the Rockets can see if he is worth the extra accommodations.

  12. captainwisdom8888 - Jan 23, 2013 at 9:17 PM

    Haha south side….Funyuns mannnnn!

    I say they just knock Royce out with some sort of sedative before flights and throw him in cargo….or maybe just prop him up in his chair on the plane and decorate his face to-and-from road games. What a nancy…

  13. rdssc - Jan 23, 2013 at 9:22 PM

    If any of you watch the real sports on this guy you will understand. He looks like he might explode when the reporter asks if he can touch the hats hanging in his closet. I can’t imagine how hard it is to go through life with his mental issues. Good luck to him.

  14. scalfor3 - Jan 23, 2013 at 10:58 PM

    Kid has the game to be a starter in the NBA. He’ll have to earn it, but I’m rooting for him.

  15. digitalpoo - Jan 23, 2013 at 11:42 PM

    If you look up research related to anxiety disorders, all eventual success is related to exposure if the stimuli that elicits the anxiety. Sooner or later Royce needs to confront his fear and get on the plane, otherwise his treatment will be in limbo.

  16. louhudson23 - Jan 24, 2013 at 7:41 AM

    I have little doubt his issues are real.Time to get with it,young man.The Rockets hired you to play.Start playing. Continue to work on your issues and your game. At some point,the Rockets will have to decide you have what it takes to be a Houston Rocket or not. Just like with every other player. Ultimately,the burden is on you,Royce White.If your Doctors determine it is not in your best interest to take part in the activities as determined by the Rockets,then you have to find a another team or another line of work.The Rockets have no need or obligation to allow your status to be determined by your Doctors. They have a need and obligation to put the best team on the floor.At this point,they still believe that your worth as a player dictates working with you.If that belief changes,they will no longer require your services.End of story. They hired you to be a ball player. I hope you make it.

  17. progress2011 - Jan 24, 2013 at 8:12 AM

    All the drama this dude has caused…..He better be able to “”BALL” !!! I

    I’m talking 20pts, 10 boards, 5 assists …..EVERYNIGHT !!!

  18. briangetsit - Jan 24, 2013 at 12:43 PM

    Here is the thing… do the Rockets not have something to do with this? You do research before the draft and this was plain and evident from the beginning. In the NFL you see players dropping down the draft all the time because of past medical issues. You do your due diligence because you are committing $100 to a player, you are guaranteeing millions because you made him a 1st round pick.

    Yes some of the burden is his, but some of it is also theirs because they thought they could handle it and he said no… Shouldn’t the exact protocol been discussed prior to signing the original contract? The money portion is already decided by a prearranged agreement.

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