Blog Entry

Offended by Roy's suicide story? Not me

Posted on: February 11, 2012 6:30 pm
Edited on: February 11, 2012 7:02 pm
Williams and the Tar Heels bounced back with a win over Virginia Saturday afternoon. (Getty Images)

By Gary Parrish

The North Carolina Tar Heels cruised Saturday to a 70-52 victory over Virginia that helped put behind them Wednesday's crushing loss to Duke, you know, that loss in which Tyler Zeller missed free throws, scored on his own team and let Austin Rivers bury a jumper at the buzzer.

This win over Virginia was good.

But that loss to Duke was really bad.

It was so bad Roy Williams was asked Saturday how Zeller handled it.

A portion of the coach's answer quickly made its way around Twitter and other social media sites.

"We had a chance to visit and [Zeller] said I was one of the few guys who could make him laugh," Williams said, according to an audio clip provided to by Inside Carolina's Dijana Kunovac. "I asked him Thursday night when I called him late, I said 'Are you thinking about getting the knives out and slicing your wrist?' He said 'Maybe.' I said, 'Well if you're gonna do that then call me and I'll come do it with you.' I told him my son would want to know it first so he could change the will and get control of everything. He liked that statement, too."

Roy Williams slicing wrist audio

But some fans didn't like that statement at all. To them, this was good 'ol Roy -- the same coach who once compared a losing streak to the earthquake in Haiti -- sticking his big 'ol foot in his big 'ol mouth, but I can't be outraged. And those of you who are probably need to relax a little.

I mean, the man was just joking.

Have we really reached the point where jokes aren't allowed?

All I ever hear are people bemoaning the idea that our sports lack real characters. We say we hate coachspeak then attack those who try not to deliver it, and that seems dumb. So let the record show that I have no issue with Williams' story ... and, yes, I realize suicide is a serious issue.

I've had friends commit suicide.

I've had friends survive suicide attempts.

Guns. Pills. Razors-to-wrists. We all have stories.

Suicide is a very serious and sad thing. I can't imagine what it must be like to reach a point where ending your life seems like a better option than continuing it. But trainwrecks are serious, too. And people have died that way, too. And yet I sat at the KFC Yum! Center last Monday watching Louisville dismantle Connecticut while folks publicly described the Huskies as a "trainwreck," and I don't remember anybody reminding the world that it's not funny to joke about trainwrecks. Because it's just a term we use to make a point. Everybody basically understands this. It's fine.

Raise your hand if you've never joked around and said the words, "Man, I'd rather die than do that."

Raise your hand if you've never shaped your fingers like a gun and pointed them at yourself.

Raise your hand if you've never typed the letters KYS.

My guess is that most reading this have done at least one of those things, and I bet most didn't mean any of it literally. You don't really mean you'd rather die than eat black olives, you wouldn't really put your finger under your chin if it were a loaded gun, and you don't really want a Facebook friend to kill himself. Those are just expressions designed to make points, and that's all Williams was trying to do Saturday. He was just trying to make a point about how devastating that loss to Duke was to he and Zeller and UNC in general, and I thought he made the point rather well.

Since: Aug 30, 2006
Posted on: February 12, 2012 1:29 pm

Offended by Roy's suicide story? Not me

We all say things that we probably shouldn't say.  It probably is wrong to say that, as suicide rates are skyrocketing.  We're all guilty of it.  However, it's shouldn't move the needle when it comes to news.

Since: Mar 15, 2008
Posted on: February 12, 2012 1:05 pm

Offended by Roy's suicide story? Not me

just a typical moronic college basketball coach

Since: Feb 24, 2007
Posted on: February 12, 2012 12:59 pm

Offended by Roy's suicide story? Not me

Here here MSUalum.

Very well said.

There are some subjects however that are better not kidded about as they do desensitize society to a problem that can cause violence and hate crimes. Though I don't think that something as inocuous as saying something is gay, leads directly to someone getting being up for being gay, it can lead young and uneducated people to take the next step toward that, where at least public ridccule should result. 

Unfortunately some can not rationalize the difference between a harmless word among people who understand each other when it is used, and those that feel wronged for the very existance of the word. I would say the N word is a perfect example. I am white and offended when I hear the word used. i associate it with low class, lack of education, ignorance and vulgarity by the person using the word. However I understand that some African Americans use it to each other as a term of trust and brotherhood. I am no less offended, at the same time as you say, I roll my eyes and think how sad it is that it is still done. however if and unfotunatley when, I find someone calling another that in a mean spirited or offensive and threatening way, then action needs to be taken.  

There is a much finre line to be walked when dealing with subject that can result in further violence. Simply hurting someones feelings because the subject is not taken as seriously to them as it is you, is simply your own problem.

Since: Feb 24, 2007
Posted on: February 12, 2012 12:45 pm

Offended by Roy's suicide story? Not me

I did not hear about this until I read it on here this mornng. I think everyone has known or known of someone who has taken their own life. I know I have a family member who did. Folks, bad things happen all the time. Sad tragic things happen every day. From injury to death, from desease to earthquake. They are all individual situations that need to be handles delicately out of respect for the victims or their loved ones. But in the big picture if you can't talk or joke about anything that offends someone, then there would bea lot more suicide in this world. People need to be able to relax and relieve stress. Many do that with humor. And many do that by comparing their own problem or seadness with something much worse so as to understand that their current problem is NOT worth taking your life over or some other serious condition.

Of course there is always a different phrase that can be used to get your point across to attempt to not offend even the most sensitive, but why should anyone have to? If you have lost a loved one to suicide then I am sure it is important to you. But guess what? It's not about you. Not now, not ever, unless someone is talking to you. Then of course they should take into account you and your feelings. Of course you don't have to respect the person making the statements if you like, but even that is a little petty unless the person is aware of your situation and does it anyway, to or around you.

Social stereotypes are one thing. And i do not think the locker room gives excuse to these, and they should not be encouraged or tolerated even though they may have been the norm at one time. Boys will be boys is no longer a viable defense when these things come into play. Jokes about sex, homosexuality, gender, religeaon or race have become taboo as well. There are reasons for this beyond someone getting their feelings hurt. These issues have been proven to contribute to discrimination, denial of benefits, jobs, promotions, even violence, etc. as well as creating an environment that prevent someone from continuing to go or work somewhwere. Not simply because someone else is offended.

If someone had said "you should go kill yourself" fo something they had done, then I think that carries a whole different context. But a coach gaging how badly a player feels about what happened in a game, by comparing it to the stress or depression needed to contemplate taking ones own life, is certainly not anything like that. He basically said, its not that bad, and were all in this together. people need to attempt to understand context and not jump every time they hear their hot button word. 

I am so tired of hearing someone whine every time a sports announcer says a game was a war. It's a phrase that shows the seriousness of the battle between two sides. I served for 13 years and take no offense. In fact I enjoy it. Same thing when someone says that someone is a cancer in the locker room. A lot of people have, will get, and know people that have, and wil lget and die form cancer. It is not a slight to them or insensitive. It is a way to give weight to a statement, and it works. Those that read actual literature find comparisons like this throughout every great american novel to lend heavu description to something that you must use your imagination to see. You don't hear those educated people complaining about Dickens or Hemmingway do you? So why complain about a basketball coach using a descriptive phrase to make a player understand the weight or lack therof of the situation?

People need to use their time and effort for something a little more important than this. And I am serious as a heart attack!  

Since: Oct 7, 2006
Posted on: February 12, 2012 12:40 pm

Offended by Roy's suicide story? Not me

I completely disagree with this article. The original conversation between two men privately that speech is acceptable, the minute Williams decided to make it public speech by telling a reporter what was said could not be any more wrong. Its insensitive to people who deal with cutting on a daily basis and people who have lost loved ones to suicide. If these comments can not remain private then they need not be said. There should be some backlash for this. 

Since: Mar 29, 2007
Posted on: February 12, 2012 12:08 pm

Offended by Roy's suicide story? Not me

I think coach Williams should be fired then sentenced to death by lethal injection! No, really, a comment made by a coach during a player/coach conversation is twisted to this? There are plenty of headlines in the world of sports Mr Parrish. This however, is a desperate attempt to make one out of NOTHING!

Since: Dec 31, 2010
Posted on: February 12, 2012 11:57 am

Offended by Roy's suicide story? Not me

Roy Williams has been in the news a lot lately doing questionable things. i.e. Walking off the court and not congratulating a winning coach. He has done some dumb things in the past and to be completly honest i hate Roy Williams with a passion. This comment however should not be a big deal. He's just trying to pick up his player.

I do, however, think that if Coach K had said something like this, Tar heel fans would have flipped. It's all a matter of perspective and what color blue you are.


Since: Nov 25, 2009
Posted on: February 12, 2012 11:20 am

Offended by Roy's suicide story? Not me

I read an interesting bumper sticker the other day and thought I'd share it here.  It read, "Political Correctness Breeds Stupidity."

I happen to agree.  We kinda founded this country on the general premise that you can say damn near whatever you want and have that right protected under the constitution.  You don't like what someone is saying?  Kindly don't listen.

Fight the fights that are worth fighting and stop with the political correctness nonsense.  Annoyed because someone offhandedly calls something they find ridiculous "retarded?"  Ignore it.  See someone maliciously ridiculing a mentally disabled person?  Fight.  Offended because someone sees something that they find silly and refer to it as "gay?"  Roll your eyes and get over it.  See some teenagers bullying another kid because he dresses differently from them?  Fight.

You see?  There's a huge difference.  Intelligent people recognize it.  Sheep just follow along without an original thought in their heads on the matter.  I urge you not to be sheep.

And to those who want to attack my thoughts on the whole suicide matter . . . I've lost a close friend and an uncle to suicide.  I know how much it hurts those left behind.  Those were some of the most painful moments of my life.  That doesn't mean that I can't recognize the difference between an off-handed comment and a real case of suicide.  Nor do I lack the intelligence to be offended by the former.

MSUAlum2000- it's a shame more people don't think like you.  Bravo!

Since: Mar 12, 2011
Posted on: February 12, 2012 11:02 am

Offended by Roy's suicide story? Not me

Wow, anyone who got their panties in a wad over his joking comment should just go OFF themselves !!!

Since: Dec 20, 2010
Posted on: February 12, 2012 10:53 am

Offended by Roy's suicide story? Not me

You sir, are the reason I read these posts. Once in a while someone (like you) writes a good one!

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or