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: Jan 12, 2008
Posted on: February 12, 2012 10:33 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.

Since: May 25, 2009
Posted on: February 12, 2012 10:24 am

Offended by Roy's suicide story? Not me

The Heels will be fine, still one of the most talented teams in the country, when they decide to do what they need to do they will compete for a one wants them in March I promise you that, I don't think I have a problem standing behind anything he says, just tells it like it is with a little humor at times.

Since: Nov 6, 2007
Posted on: February 12, 2012 9:33 am

Offended by Roy's suicide story? Not me

some things you shouldnt joke about. parrish lose a framily member and then get back to me. why anyone would defend the statements is beyond me.

Since: Aug 22, 2006
Posted on: February 12, 2012 9:16 am

Offended by Roy's suicide story? Not me

Having had a loved one pass due to suicide, I figure I can chime in on this one.  

Coach Williams was simply trying to pick up his temporarily depressed player.  While suicide is a serious issue, what occurs between a player and a coach is theirs and theirs alone.  I am certain that we all say any number of things in the midst of emotional and private discussion with our spouses, peers, friends, children, etc.

This is such a non-issue.  I am more concerned that random society is so tuned in to these things that they have the time to be offended.

Get a hobby! 

Since: May 27, 2008
Posted on: February 12, 2012 8:47 am

Offended by Roy's suicide story? Not me

I recently lost a good friend to suicide.  I find the statement insensitive.  It's one of those things that you take lightly until it hits close to home. - BB

Since: Nov 16, 2007
Posted on: February 12, 2012 7:28 am

Offended by Roy's suicide story? Not me

Are you kidding me? This is nothing more than a Coach that cares about his players. He did what he could to let this young man know that it was ok. He tried to make the kid feel better by making light of it.

Wow, NC you have a good one. Chill out ! 

Since: May 25, 2009
Posted on: February 12, 2012 7:07 am

Offended by Roy's suicide story? Not me

THANK YOU,  Mr. Parrish!!! I think most of the people who were offended by Roy's statements are part of the "hypersensitive" problem we have in society today. Also known as "PC police". Aka "fun Nazis". Oooooh....maybe I shouldn't use "Nazi" in case it offends, right?

Few who were offended realize that TZ was getting a lot of unfair criticism and blame for the d00k loss. Roy knew TZ was down on himself and found the best way to lighten the mood: humor. Only the extremely "anal retentive" folks could find offense in that. I would suggest they not read ANY quotes by Roy, as he tends to speak his mind. Sadly, most PC people can't seem to handle that.

You previous posters can call Roy a "jerk", "insensitive", etc etc til the cows come home. But as Gary points out, it's doubtful if any of you has never used "train wreck" jokes or analogies to describe a situation. Or the finger "hand gun". Or the grabbing of your throat to describe a team "choking". Or asked a long faced friend if someone "shot his dog". Only someone who had family die in a train wreck, then got shot, then was throat choked, then got home to find their dog had been shot, would find offense in any of those terms. In other words, lighten up people!  Or best advice is dont' read or listen to Roy.

Since: Dec 20, 2006
Posted on: February 12, 2012 6:48 am

Offended by Roy's suicide story? Not me

I think people are just confused. We are seeing this as him telling a "joke", when really the moment is the joke. So, basically he took a moment, which honestly many over perpetuate, it's only one game, and found levity to lift up someone else. Comedians do this all the time. Finding humor in the most adverse situations is a practice many have abandoned. Taking up living in the sorrow instead of joy. Laughter soothes the soul.

Since: Nov 16, 2008
Posted on: February 12, 2012 2:42 am

Offended by Roy's suicide story? Not me

Wow we've really lost our sense of humor, haven't we? We now have to consider everyone in the world before we say or do anything. And all our kids get a trophy for trying. Maybe Obama is right, we've become soft. Perhaps the answer is that we all dress alike, have the same haircut, drive the same car, and live is the same style house. That way no one can be offended.
As Sgt. Hulka said in Stripes "Lighten up Francis". 

Since: Dec 20, 2007
Posted on: February 12, 2012 1:44 am

Offended by Roy's suicide story? Not me

Please. Try to reflect on a day exposed to a multitude of people, comments, etc. Chances are, you will come up with a billion remarks that could be examined and deemed offensive, ignorant, or anything of that nature. Comments to retardation, gays, and whatever else are so common you've likely even heard a reference or two today. It does not make any sense to me how a person lets comments like these evoke anger and/or defensiveness, regardless of a person's standing. To take the words at face value would surely make the comments seem offensive. HOWEVER, the person's motive behind making the comment has to be considered before responding to empty-minded, ignorant statements. I not only have a menally "retarded" sibling but also 2 adopted siblings, and have heard retardation or being adopted used pejoratively quite often. I know that if I were to really put these people on the spot and tell them I found what they said extremely offensive, they would beg for forgiveness and tell me they really had no intention of offending me. Does no one here see that being politically correct means absolutely nothing?! How a person words themself does not take away from the point they are trying to make or the emotion they are trying to evoke. Sure, one may indeed sound better than the other, but at the heart of it the statement "that's gay" and "that's repugnant" are one and the same. A person has no one to blame but themself for finding one of the 2 offensive.

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