Open Letter to Royce White

Royce White Houston Rockets

Royce White has twice refused an assignment to the D-League, citing a lack of support by the Rockets

Dear Royce,

In your very brief time with the Rockets, you’ve become quite a polarizing figure. You’ve managed to incite a lot of anger, expose a good deal of bias and ignorance both in the media and the working profession and alienate nearly an entire fan base.

Let me preface this by saying I am 28 years old. I have a wife and children. I have also suffered from anxiety and depression for the past 10 years. I’ve been told there are medical reasons for this, and I understand the general American public’s perceptions about medical conditions being used as a “crutch.”

I like your cause, and I support it fully. You don’t know how many times I’ve heard, “Well just let *insert deity* take care of it” or “Everybody has problems, you just have to learn to cope with them and deal with them like the rest of us do.” Mental Illness does not have a simple fix nor is it easy to cope with. It is a battle every day for the rest of your life.

This is clearly your mission, your passion and your obsession, a fact you have made readily apparent to your 140,000 followers on Twitter. Your tweets shift from honesty and claims of needing understanding to re-tweets from well-wishers and those who blast you. To those people, you simply tell them to “#BeWell”.

Royce, there is no one out there who doesn’t want you to be well, especially the fans.

We saw glimpses of your basketball potential during the Summer League games and in the preseason. Some of us are still convinced that you could be a revolutionary player that could change the game, but few of us are still convinced you actually want to play basketball anymore.

In the grand scheme of things, your “mission” is more important than a game we play, but what fuels the backlash against you is more than your dreamy-headed tweets or anxiety. You have a built-in support system, something many others do not have access to, but you haven’t taken advantage of it. You’ve stuck to your guns and refused to concede any points. You’ve made it all about the crusade so much so that you mentioned the Sandy Hook Elementary tragedy in your recent press release, which has been seen by many as an insensitive attempt to draw attention to yourself.

Your attempts at transparency are causing you to be eaten alive in the court of public opinion. It is getting harder for your supporters to stay on your bandwagon. If you want us to see your transparency on Twitter as a way to understand your point of view, then you must also be willing to reciprocate by seeing our point of view as well.

When the average fan places his set of values onto your situation, he sees himself bending over backwards to do what it takes to play basketball in the NBA. It’s fine to be a guy who speaks his mind, as long as you do all the things required of any other professional. Look no further than Arian Foster as an example of a talented football player who still manages to keep it real on his Twitter account and his life. His pursuit of intellectual and creative endeavors enriches his personality and makes us like him more despite his idiosyncrasies.

The harsh truth is that we don’t always get exactly what we want out of life. Sometimes compromises have to be made. Sometimes you have to concede a point or two. Sometimes, you have to stop playing the victim and understand the other side as badly as you want your side to be understood.

You demand progress for yourself and others, and we applaud that. But you also demand to be put above the team, above the profession, above the needs of any others, and then it appears that you are the one that is lost above the clouds. You have a lot of people depending on you and there is a lot at stake. You playing basketball is not just about basketball as a game. It is about showing that a man can create a fairer set of rules for himself. In order to do that, you must first prove you will work just as hard as everyone else.

Your move, Royce.

This could be something beautiful for the game and for humanity.

You could be the catalyst.


– A Rockets Fan

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