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 3, 2007
Posted on: February 12, 2012 12:07 am

Offended by Roy's suicide story? Not me

Sorry guys, Parrish is just plain right.

Joking about serious subjects is just fine in context. Everyone who posted here to criticize Parrish or Williams has done it, I guarantee. So the hypocritical morons oozing out onto the boards here don't impress me with how "Oh how sensitive they are". And yes, I've known a few people who have commited suicide. One was a guy who'd I still give anything to have had a chance to talk to him on the phone before he went through with it. He surprised everyone. I could have given him an option, but he never even let anyone know he was at the end of his rope, or even close.

Despite that, I'm not one of these idiot whiners who thinks that any reference to a serious subject has to be deadly serious ... OR ELSE.

Get a life, nit wits.   

Since: Oct 18, 2009
Posted on: February 12, 2012 12:01 am

Offended by Roy's suicide story? Not me

I've lost several family members to suicide so I don't joke about it, but I don't get offended when other people do. I don't want the entire world to adjust its behavior to what makes me comfortable, I want to be strong enough to ignore petty things like this. While I don't agree with the use of gestures like pointing a gun at your head, I won't make a ruckus when others do it.

Since: Sep 5, 2006
Posted on: February 11, 2012 11:54 pm

Offended by Roy's suicide story? Not me

Perhaps if you had lost a loved one to suicide, you wouldn't find much humor in what he said. I'm sure he meant nothing bad, but the fact is suicide is no joke and it shouldn't joked about.

Since: Dec 13, 2008
Posted on: February 11, 2012 11:46 pm

Offended by Roy's suicide story? Not me

Talk about an overeaction to a statement. Anyone that is upset at this should just relax a little.

Since: Mar 30, 2009
Posted on: February 11, 2012 11:44 pm

Offended by Roy's suicide story? Not me

Gary, you are normally alright...nothing like the idiot twins Freeman and Goodman, but you are so far out-of-bounds on this you aren't even in the gym.  I don't care how common or, you like to think, acceptable it is to joke about suicide, it isn't.  And for Roy Williams, who has never been confused with being the most intelligent or well-spoken individual, to compare losing a ball game to whatever circumstances drive real people to end their own lives, that is just the pinnacle of blindness and ignorance.  And for someone who claims to have friends who have killed themselves, well, unless they did it for some equally-stupid reason, like their milk soured on them, then you should be angered at the disrespect to their memory "Ole Roy's" off-the-cuff remarks display...certainly not wasting time writing a column excusing it.

Since: May 26, 2010
Posted on: February 11, 2012 11:33 pm

Offended by Roy's suicide story? Not me

The problem with Roy is he thinks he is hilarious, when in fact he isn't remotely funny.

Since: Nov 25, 2009
Posted on: February 11, 2012 10:23 pm

Offended by Roy's suicide story? Not me

I can see why people would get upset about this.  I mean, some people think suicide is their only option.  Well, it's not.  It's the easy way out.  That's the problem with the media if you can call it a problem at all.  They report what is said or what happens.  It's up to the consumer (you and me) to make our own decision on taking it at face value or reading into it.

Since: Dec 7, 2006
Posted on: February 11, 2012 9:56 pm

Offended by Roy's suicide story? Not me

I guess I am in the minority, but this article is so sick. I don't find threatening suicide a joking matter at all.

Maybe Roy Williams was joking. Maybe it is his way to coach a player he knows. Maybe he is just a jerk. But why is it so wrong for people to be outraged about this? If I told someone I was gonna slash my wrists, I would much rather have someone call the cops on me, then to laugh and joke about it and not take me seriously.

Someone saying that a basketball game is a trainwreck is not the same as joking about someone who contemplates slashing their wrists. Mr. Parrish, you should be ashamed for making such an idiotic comparison. And Mr. Parrish, I find it quite offensive that you tell us all what we understand and what we feel. We don't really want a Facebook friend to die; gee that's big of us, huh? How compassionate.

Ask the families of Ricky Berry, Katrina Price, Bill Robinzine, et. al. if they feel suicide is something to joke about. Mr. Parrish, I dare you to ask them if they find this sort of attitude OK.

Whitney Houston just died. Is it OK for me to joke about it? After all, I didn't REALLY want her to die.

And I don't want to hear from anyone telling me to lighten up. Please do not go there.

Thank you for reading this.

Since: Nov 25, 2007
Posted on: February 11, 2012 9:40 pm

He's never made me laugh; because he's not funny

Williams does not come-off as a funny-man too me.  In fact, I would go as far as to say that his name is more synonymous with terse and stupid comments than funny ones.  That is why people take offense to things like this --because he is typically not a funny person at all. 

Since: Feb 11, 2012
Posted on: February 11, 2012 9:25 pm

Offended by Roy's suicide story? Not me

Too bad you had to explain this

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