It seems that the team brass has had enough of his antics and is suspending White for at least one week, according to Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle:
Rockets as expected have suspended Royce White 1 week after he refused assignment to the D League.— Jonathan Feigen (@Jonathan_Feigen) January 6, 2013
CBS Houston’s staff published a press release from Rockets GM Daryl Morey concerning the situation:
The Houston Rockets have suspended Royce White effective immediately for refusing to provide services as required by his Uniform Player Contract. We will continue to work with Royce to hopefully come to a resolution.
White took to Twitter upon hearing the news of this suspension, letting the world know he would continue to fight for his personal well-being.
What's suspending me suppose to do 😕 I've been away from the team for a month 1/2. Guess we want to give it a title to shift accountability.— Royce White (@Highway_30) January 6, 2013
Through 34 games of the 2012-13 campaign, White hasn’t seen a minute of floor time and has spent most of his time battling with team brass on how to properly handle his anxiety disorder.
On Dec. 30, the Rockets assigned the rookie to the D-League in order to try to get him prepared to join the active roster, but White rebuffed the demotion.
White has been extremely public about his desire to play for the Rockets but has been equally—if not more—vocal with his criticism of the organization, claiming it isn’t doing enough to appease his mental-health desires.
White addressed his refusal to join the Rio Grande Valley Vipers in a statement (via ESPN):
I have chosen to not play, because the doctors and I believe it to be unsafe for unqualified Rockets front office personnel to make medical decisions, as they are not mental health professionals.
The back-and-forth between White and the team brass had clearly gone on long enough, so Morey was forced to step in with a suspension.
While the GM was well aware of the prospect’s anxiety issue—it was a red flag and a reason many teams skipped over the immensely talented forward—he thought the two parties could work out an arrangement.
Prior to White going AWOL in the beginning of the season, they had worked out the logistics of allowing White to travel by bus to as many games as possible, as he has a strong fear of flying.
Since his defection, White’s situation has become an absolute headache and unnecessary distraction for the Rockets. The current roster is in the midst of a playoff push in the Western Conference and does not need to deal with a teammate who does not want to be there.
It’ll be interesting to see how this situation is resolved, though we expect it could take quite some time before that occurs.
Keep it tuned here on B/R for the latest concerning the Houston Rockets and Royce White’s suspension.