As if the Houston Rockets organization needed anymore headaches or heartache this season, the Royce White problem has moved from “very real” to “dire”. In November, White took a public shot at the Rockets’ front office, accusing upper management of being “inconsistent with their agreement to proactively create a healthy and successful relationship”. The public jabs died down for a bit, but a recent D-League assignment (which White refused) led to another back-and-forth. Today, White took to the airwaves, appearing on SiriusXM’s “Off The Dribble”, where host Justin Termine asked White what the chances are of him never playing in the NBA:
Well, you know, that’s a good question. I think that the chances are very high. And I say that just like I said before the draft that the chances were very high that I didn’t even get drafted. Because business in America, as we all know, is about one thing and that’s convenience and efficiency. And oftentimes what the efficient thing to do is not the healthiest thing to do, right? That’s why we still sell cigarettes. It wouldn’t shock me if we couldn’t be logical and say a protocol is needed because it’ll be the hard thing to do. If that’s the case then so be it. I stand on what I say and I refuse to put myself in a hazardous situation to play a sport.
When asked is he would play basketball ever again, White responded:
I’ll play again. It’ll just be a matter of where, it’ll be a matter of when, but I’ll play again.
The “protocol” White refers to appears to be the reason for why he refused his latest D-League assignment, accusing the front office of flexing executive authority over medical situations, rather than allow team-approved physicians such authority:
The protocol actually calls for medical professionals to have executive authority in medical situations regarding mental health. And that is something that’s been declined. So basically I’m fighting to have that rectified. I just don’t think it is OK or responsible or even logical to have GMs or any front office personnel have executive authority in medical situations.
This is about — in general — who has executive authority in medical incidents or on every day operations because the reality here is that it’s just not logical for somebody like Daryl Morey, for example, who is my GM, to say yea or nay on anything regarding medical situations. And that’s kind of where the rule stands now, is that a GM has the right to decline the medical recommendations of even their own doctors. And that’s just not safe to me.
That routine recovery was OK’d by their doctors and in the 12th hour kind of made a D-League recommendation. And I said, “Hey, listen, I’m going to go with what the doctors are saying and if you guys want to fine me or suspend me because I’m not going to the D-League you can do that, but I’m going to stick with what the doctors have said.”
White made an immediate attempt at damage control, explaining he doesn’t blame Houston, defining the situation as a “gray area”, and expressing his desire to actually play for the team that drafted him:
The reality is that it is not Houston’s fault. As much as we always want to try and blame one side or the other and try and find the black and white in it, it’s not black and white. It’s gray. And they’ve been thrown into a position now where they’re forced to make things up as they go because a protocol has not been put in place for mental health up until this point…I want to play for Houston. I love the city of Houston. Since I’ve been here the fans have been nothing but supportive — that I’ve met in person. Twitter has been different. The fans that I’ve met in person have been supportive. The community here is great. I have a lot of friends that work in the organization, in the building, that aren’t even related to practice or the game, so to speak. So I have no intention or desire to play for another team.
To recap: in the course of one interview, Royce White says chances are high that he’ll never play, but then says he wants to play for the Rockets and nobody else, but might end up playing sometime, but somewhere else. Eventually someone will make a decision on this matter, and based on his indecisiveness, odds are it won’t be Royce White.