Royce White refuses D-League assignment
by Jeff Zillgitt, USA TODAY Sports
Houston Rockets rookie forward Royce White refused his D-League assignment to the Rio Grande Valley Vipers and released a statement Sunday, portraying a significant gap between the organization and White.
White, who has an anxiety disorder, has not played a regular-season game for the Rockets, and it doesn’t appear he is close to re-joining the team. White has not been with Houston since Nov. 12, and the No. 16 pick in the draft has been outspoken about mental health issues and the Rockets’ mental health plan for him.
The Rockets and White have not found common ground regarding his treatment, and White has been critical of Houston’s approach to his mental health.
“I do wish to play, but I only intend to do so with the collaboration and recommendation of trained professionals,” White said a statement released Sunday. “The purpose of a doctor’s confirmation is to ensure that health decisions are made in the sole interest of health and not conflicted with business. My only hope is that decision makers involved realize that doctors are the only logical source to decide action.
“There is an admitted lack of knowledge on behalf of the Rockets and the NBA, it becomes transparent as they choose to forego the knowledge of trained professionals and make independent decisions for something as complex as mental health without consulting any doctors.
“The Rockets have told me in recent conversations that it is their right to decline even their own doctors’ recommendations. The concept of not listening to medical consultants in medical situations is alarming. It is also alarming that a player is susceptible to fines for simply adhering to the recommendation of doctors.”
White played at Iowa State, and his anxiety disorder is well-documented. But Houston believed in White and still does. The Rockets want White back on the court, practicing and playing with the Rio Grande Valley Vipers before he re-joins the Rockets.
The Rockets have been mostly quiet about White, hoping to resolve the issue behind closed doors. However, White disagrees with Houston’s plan for him, and he has been a vocal advocate for mental health on … [For more on Royce White refuses D-League assignment, click here.]