|White is being fined for his absences. (Getty Images)|
Things have gone from awkward to bad to worse between Royce White and the Rockets. After showing promise in the summer league, the forward has reached an impasse with the team that has resulted in his skipping mandatory practices and games, and refusing to report for time in the D-League with the Rio Grande Valley Vipers. Oh, and he's flipping out on Twitter, too.
Now the Houston Chronicle reports that the team is fining White for every team event missed. That's going to add up quickly.
With White 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 fails to attend sessions with a therapist the Rockets have arranged for him, a person with knowledge of the situation said. White and Rockets general manager Daryl Morey have declined interview requests.
White began to express his dissatisfaction a week ago, according to the person familiar with talks, initially complaining about a lack of opportunity to earn playing time.
Now, don't get me wrong. The fact that Kevin McHale has been burying the talented rookies on this squad is downright infuriating and totally misses a key factor of what the Rockets need to do.
But you don't get to be upset with playing time, and then blame it on the mental condition. There are a number of things that can cause anxiety and give him problems. But is it going to become "I'm not getting enough touches, so I'm going to have a panic attack"? Where's the line.
I've supported White and his condition in the past, having suffered with the same problems. But I also said there was no guarantee he would work out as an NBA player, because there are enough challenges to the careers of rookies before you even get to a thing like anxiety disorder. But the Twitter binge he's been on does nothing to help his case, does nothing to raise awareness or help others in a similar situation. Even if White is being discriminated against because of his condition, going to Twitter about it is not the way to clear the air, to get your side told. It only serves to facilitate those who would link his condition with immaturity and a lack of character.
Everyone's losing here: White, the Rockets, the fans, everyone.
The agument is likely linked to the fact that the Rockets wanted to assign White to the D-League Rio Grande Valley Vipers, something he may view as a demotion.
But here's the thing: White wants to travel by RV as long as possible. The first 13 games of the Vipers' season are in Texas or Oklahoma, within driving distance. The same cannot be said for Houston's NBA-normal schedule. There are a lot of people rooting for White. I'm not one of them, because I don't want to tie my fates to someone just because he suffers from the same condition I do. As I wrote earlier, every situation is different. But it's genuinely a shame that this is the way things are playing out, as White's career inches ever closer to the edge beyond which he may not be able to recover.