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November 2012 Archive


Houston Rockets Rookie Royce White Tortures Himself on Twitter; Headed to D League

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.



How Can Anonymous Jets Comments Be a Sign of Discord When They All Seem to Agree?

Woke up to all these headlines about anonymous Jets players “ripping” Tim Tebow. So of course I assume that the Jets locker room has fallen apart again with infighting. I go read the quotes and that doesn’t seem to be the case. What it sounds like to me is a bunch of guys (including team staff) frustrated with the media and fans calling for Sanchez to be benched despite the fact that 1. Tebow is terrible (as one defensive player put it) and 2. the Jets have no receivers took an opportunity from a gossip rag to say what they’ve been dying to say.

Not the best way to do something but I sure do understand. 

it’s fine for the media to report this story as being about Tebow since the Daily News only wrote the story because of him, but to miss the rest of the picture entirely is just nuts to me. Dissing Tebow isn’t a sign of a locker room falling apart because it’s clear that nobody and I mean nobody, including Coach Ryan I would assume, even sees Tebow as a part of the locker room. The team, like many people in the public, doesn’t even take Tebow seriously. Further, how can a team be in discord when they all are saying the same thing! 

To the second point, about the lack of Jets receivers, it’s a point rational people have tried to make all season especially after seeing the ridiculous number of pass attempts Sanchez has made in some games. When Antonio Cromartie said he was the second best receiver on the team behind Santonio he wasn’t just tooting his own horn-he was letting people know that the team is in desperate need of talent on offense. But, again, the mostly turned that into a story about how cocky Cromartie is.

I thought it was interesting that the quotes about the receivers were mainly attributed to team staff. We already knew Woody Johnson was out of touch, now we know his employees agree.

In terms of the Jets players making their comments anonymously, the media has made impossible to criticize Tebow on record no matter who you are.  Obviously, a player shouldn’t criticize teammates period — on record or off — but when the media  and by proxy the fans are missing the big picture repeatedly players get frustrated.  I think the Jets players are genuinely worried that they will wake up one morning and Tebow will be starting QB for their team. Rex Ryan clearly doesn’t want that to happen, but he probably also didn’t want Woody Johnson to sign him the first place.

There are no guarantees here especially since the media has told players what they think of Tebow for an entire year. Remember, the Broncos defensive players had to wait until Tebow was traded to dispute the media’s recount of Tebow “inspiring” them to play better.

In a nutshell, from my perspective people tried to defend Mark Sanchez and Ryan’s decision not to play Tebow in the wrong way. But is it a sign of discord or a desperate plea to Woody Johnson to get rid of the circus guy and get some real personnel. I vote for the latter.

Related, Peter Carroll has stated that he didn’t think bringing Tebow helped Sanchez AND he said that Tebow is a distraction. At this point who can disagree?



Do We Give White Football Players Enough Credit for Being Exciting?

We all know how skewed scouting reports can be based on race — and lots of players have pointed out that it’s not just on-air experts who follow a pattern when talking about athletes but that it’s actually often seen in team reports as well. I’ve always looked at it from the perspective that black players aren’t given enough credit for being intelligent…that there’s over-emphasis on their athletic ability and that there’s a pattern when it comes to experts looking for words to describe those players without saying “intelligent” or “smart” (e.g. clever).

I was watching “The Real Rob Report,” which I do each week FAITHFULLY, a series hosted by Michael Robinson of the Seattle Seahawks. In the series, he goes around taping his teammates, even those like super star Marshawn Lynch who hilariously struggles to be left alone every week, as he asks them various questions.

Judging by the series, the Seahawks locker room looks like a really fun place to visit.  There are so many interesting personalties on the team.  If you watch the series you get to see rookie QB Russell Wilson do his Pete Carroll impression, top CB Richard Sherman argue the point that college players SHOULD be paid, OL Jon Moffitt do Jon Moffitty type things, and various other great moments like watching all the Ques on the team hop.

Back to the real point of this post which is how hearing Safety Chris Maragos talk about how white players are described actually changed my perspective on this topic a little bit. Rob asks Maragos if saying a white player is a “hustle player” is like saying he’s athletic. And Maragos says no, it means that he works hard which is the only way they can stay in the league (laughter ensues). Maragos then goes on to do an impression of a football analyst or fan talking about a white players vs. talking about the black player. When he gets to the impression regarding the black player his voice goes up in excitement. And you can tell he’d rather be described that way than the other way which is more boring and technical.

It got me thinking about white basketball players or white receivers like Green Bay’s Jordy Nelson or the Rams’ Danny Amendola . It’s clear that praise of white players errs toward the technical and mental side and less on the thrilling end. And that’s a shame cause it goes without saying that white players can easily dominate highlight reels just like black players (see: Brent Celek’s acrobatic leap over Ed Reed). It’s also funny that folks tend to easily talk about white athletes in exciting terms in the sports whites dominate (cycling, tennis, swimming etc.) but it doesn’t translate much into basketball and football.

Anyway, I just thought it was worth mentioning. I haven’t fully gathered my thoughts on it yet. You can see Maragos explain it all below, it starts at the 10:02 mark when Rob decides to “get a shot of the white people.” LOL If you watch from the beginning you can see how far Lynch goes to avoid the camera-and why it doesn’t work.


Roddy White and Julio Jones Talk About Their “linebacker mentality”

Roddy White and Julio Jones are the best wide receiver combo in the league (yes I’ve heard of Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks).  Last week the (play) brothers stopped by the Atlanta Falcons D-block show, a web series hosted by the Falcons linebackers. If you haven’t seen the series, make sure you put that on your list. It’s the best sports web series hands down (with Michael Robinson’s Real Rob Report coming in at a close second - I give D Block extra points for the southern accents).

One of the things that White and Jones talked about was finishing plays. Both of the guys took pride in having a “linebacker mentality” (Jones said he’s played some linebacker before) and blocking on run plays.White had a warning for safeties that think they’re going to blow through him and take Michael Turner down.

Jones also talked about the difficulty teams have guarding them because double teaming them just opens up opportunities for the other weapons on their team. The D-block guys seemed impressed with the way Jones talked about coverage on defense. I thought that was funny.

[To watch the video click Read More]



Just a quick note on players’ missing games to see their children being born

Since I love to comment on “outrages” during the season, I figured I’d weigh in on this. Quickly, yes I do think it’s fine for players like Chicago bears CB Charles “Peanut” Tillman to miss games to see their children being born. Right now, the public only sees what that player gets paid each week to be there. They don’t see all the special moments players miss during the year (including during the increasingly short “off season”) to stay employed by whatever league they play in.

If you saw Marshall Faulk’s Hall of Fame speech, he very eloquently talked about all the time he missed out on with his kids during his playing career. Other players have also recently talked about looking forward to spending more time with family in the years to come. Playing a sport professionally requires a high level of physical commitment including travel and travel prep. And yes, for years in this country, working class folks have had no choice but to choose work over family often working miles away from home. That doesn’t mean athletes should be forced into that too.

From MY perspective, I’d rather have a husband who can be home for all the special times in a child’s life. I’d rather a man miss a child being born than miss a kid’s recital, for example, because that’s something both the child and the parent will remember. But since we can’t (and shouldn’t) give guys off for every child’s birthday, and kids’ recital, and match and games or stomach flu and the list goes on, the least we can do is let them be there for the beginning of it all.

I would address the folks who have made comments to the effect that guys should “plan” conception around the season, but it’s hard enough for me to explain the tuck rule, I’m not really qualified to give the full low down on the birds and the bees. But I do know one thing-the people who made those comments could use a refresher course.


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