I feel bad for Royce White.
Not just because he is the victim of a mental illness, but because he's going about it all wrong.
Understandably, he wants the NBA, the Houston Rockets and the world to be aware of the importance of dealing with and accepting mental illness. But what is he trying to gain by taking to Twitter to show his frustrations?
At this point, by making his struggle so public, he's not hurting the Rockets nearly as much as he's hurting himself.
Clearly, both Houston and White needed to get on the same page after he missed part of training camp and then even a regular-season game later on. These types of conflicts don't just materialize out of thin air; the lines of communication were not completely open at one end of the spectrum.
Ppl with mental illness SHOULD be drafted, and not only should this industry, but every industry, should equip itself. 1/4 ppl in the world— Royce White (@Highway_30) November 15, 2012
Which is a mistake.
Again, I'm not belittling what the man has to go through. I personally have no idea what it's like to attempt to cope with anxiety, so I can't judge him there.
But I can say that he's hurting his future by being so unceremoniously vocal about his situation in Houston.
This is a business, and you HAVE to protect you. If me talking about this means others with these issues don't get a chance... SHAME ON US!— Royce White (@Highway_30) November 15, 2012
It's one thing to preach universal awareness and acceptance, but it's another thing entirely to chastise the team and league that writes your paychecks.
When this is all said and done with, it makes sense that White is putting his health above else. At the same time, however, he's also using his health as a roadblock.
Are the Rockets really going to be amenable to ever giving White a legitimate shot after this? Better yet, will there be any other teams willing to do so in the future?
If this came down to teams discriminating against his disorder, it's one thing. But it doesn't.
No, neither I nor you know what has gone on behind closed doors, but what we do know is that Houston was at least willing to work around White's fear of flying, among other things.
Again, obviously, reports may not tell the whole story, but that's what we know.
What we also know is that White has been unrelenting in his "cause," which can't happen if he still wants to have a future ahead of him.
If I have to say this isn't about flying anymore... SHEESH! Travel plan was already solid! Pay attention if your trying to pay attention.— Royce White (@Highway_30) November 15, 2012
The versatile forward was pegged by many to be a future star even with his mental illness to overcome. That's an outlook that has become a whole lot bleaker, though. No, not because of his mental illness, but because he's being irresponsible right now.
I'm not saying anything inappropriate or anything thats wasn't said or OMITTED by the organization, they have their media, this is mine.— Royce White (@Highway_30) November 14, 2012
White clearly wants to be able to both cope with his anxiety problems and play basketball. He wouldn't have declared for the NBA draft otherwise. So why suddenly act like not only is the game your last priority, but that your future within it doesn't even register?
It doesn't make sense.
What's he trying to prove here? That there's a right and wrong way to handle public discrepancies? Because currently, he's only proving latter.
It's NOT unprofessional to respond to misleading media provided by your employer, setting the record straight should be EXPECTED. #TheBar— Royce White (@Highway_30) November 14, 2012
Personally, I wish White the best of luck in life. I would never wish ill will upon an athlete, let alone because of a bout with a mental illness. But at the same time, I can't help but wonder if White wants to see himself succeed as much as the rest of us do.
If he wanted to preach patience and acceptance, why not start by practicing what he's preaching? Why not become an example of someone who not necessarily became a star, but did everything in his power to ensure such a claim to fame remained possible?
Right now, he's not conducting himself in such a manner, though. It's gotten to the point where the Rockets could be the undeniable villains in all this, but we'd never know because he hurt himself more than he did them.
White needs to understand that this shouldn't just be about his health issues, being rich or broke or proving a point. This should be about his future and his potential as not only an athlete, but a captivating and empowering role model.
Instead, though, this is rapidly becoming a case of "what could have been" and "where it all went wrong."
And the only person who has the ability to change that is currently doing everything in his power to make sure that will never happen.