The Houstons Rockets have finally decided to take action against AWOL rookie Royce White, announcing today that they have suspended the forward effective immediately for “refusing to provide services as required by his Uniform Player Contract”. If you haven’t been following the ongoing saga of White and the Rockets, you’ve probably been living under a rock. White rode a wave of feel good stories about his battle with anxiety disorder to the 16th pick in the 2012 NBA draft and a guaranteed multimillion dollar contract with the Houston Rockets. However, things started spiraling downwards when White missed training camp, then missed practices, and was demoted to the NBA D-League but was a no show. Things became a nightmare at that point forward, with White turning to Twitter to blast the Rockets organization, and even getting into a twitter fight with Yahoo! Sports columnist Adrian Wojnarowski. White continued on his path of career suicide by then publicly stating that he was willing to quit the NBA, and then finally refusing to show up at the Rockets D-league affiliate a second time, leading to the Rockets finally suspending him today.
This whole saga has left a bad taste in everybody’s mouth, with many wondering if the fans and general public that had supported White during the draft process had finally begun to turn on him because of his tweets and actions. At this point, White has not only worn out his welcome with the Houston Rockets, but also with the NBA. It is difficult to envision him having a future in the league at this point as teams are not going to look kindly at a player who willingly entered the draft process but then refused to play, wasting a team’s valuable first round pick and also hundreds of thousands of dollars in salary already paid. And what’s even worse is that he’s created a stigma of not drafting players who may have similar mental health problems. This unprecedented situation is likely not going to end any time soon, as the ramifications of terminating the employment of employees with disabilities fall under legal review, meaning this whole thing may eventually be played out in court. One thing is for sure though, and that is that the Houston Rockets just want to put this whole thing behind them and focus on basketball.