I’m not a big fan of writing posts about whatever happens on twitter but every now and then something pops that I feel like addressing. Yesterday Houston Rockets rookie Royce White tweeted his discontent about his relationship with the Rockets. For those who don’t know, the promising rookie talent has generalized anxiety disorder, a condition that can make routine day-to-day things difficult for many people who live with it.
From day 1, the Rockets and White have been trying to nail down the accommodations White needs. The most obvious and well known accommodation is taking the bus rather than a plane to road games within his definition of driving distance. There were other accommodations in their agreement most of which are unreported at this time. But Royce used his twitter account to blast the Rockets for not living up to the terms of their agreement. He also used it to retweet supporters and to educate folks who don’t take his illness seriously.
I figured White would be done talking after a few tweets, but the tweets went on for well over an hour. I checked White’s mentions and there was definitely a lot of support but there was also a lot of negativity with people telling him he was weak and soft and to “get over it.” those are just the kinds of abusive words that can amount to triggers for people with mental illnesses. It started to feel like he was just torturing himself.
As far as the Rockets are concerned, many draft experts were very surprised when they took White in the first round. Iowa State accommodated White’s driving needs and there didn’t seem to be any other public hiccups with his condition and ability to play. However, moving to an 82 game season where the spotlight is much harsher and the money is a lot bigger is a different story both for the organization and for the person with GAD. I don’t know Royce’s particular symptoms but big changes typically cause upticks in anxiety levels.
I believe the Rockets when they say they are putting forth a good faith effort to accommodate White. But there’s also a part of me that believes the Rockets, like many fans, didn’t take White’s illness seriously. I think if they had have taken it seriously, they probably would have passed on him not wanting the hassle.
But the time to avoid White’s needs has long passed but the Rockets are still trying by sending White to the D-League which is humiliating (in my view) to do so early in a first round draft pick’s career. I’m sure that White’s twitter tirade was in part sparked by that as well. I suppose there had to be some consequences for the time he’s missed from practice and missed visits with the team appointed therapist. I just hope that they can come to an agreement soon and we get to see what this potential star has to offer.
In the meantime, you can read up on White’s demotion and follow him on twitter here.
Update 11/14/2012 4:48pm: Royce White indicates there was a dispute between he and the Rockets regarding him wanting to see his own doctor of 3 years vs. team doctor. He’s gotta stop tweeting this stuff.