Royce White Saga Takes Turn as Lengthy Daryl Morey Letter Surfaces

There’s a new development in the soap opera surrounding Royce White and the Houston Rockets.

Late Saturday night, the Houston Chronicle published a letter that Rockets general manager Daryl Morey sent to White on Nov. 20. The letter surfaced just hours after it was reported that White confirmed his desire for the team to hire a physician to monitor his mental health on a daily basis.

According to the Chronicle‘s Jonathan Feigen, Morey sent the letter to White after a series of meetings in November.

In the letter, Morey emphasized the team’s willingness to cooperate with White, and he states that the team has done everything it can to accommodate his needs:

As we have told you repeatedly, our goals are for you to be fully integrated into the Team and to have a healthy and productive season, both on and off the court. We have been committed to these goals from the day we drafted you, and have acted consistently with those goals ever since. We have bent over backwards to accommodate your requests and help you meet these goals…The bottom line is that we remain willing to work with you on issues that arise from legitimate medical need, but you have to come to games, practice and everything else that you are able to do, just like any other player.

Morey then listed some of White’s requests and how the team attempted to help him. He also says that White did not live up to his end of their agreements:

To revisit from the beginning, before we drafted you, you told us that your fear of flying was not an issue and that you were ready to be an NBA player. Shortly after we drafted you, you apologized for having to mislead us. You later indicated that you were feeling anxious about flying to the NBA’s rookie orientation program this summer. When you missed your scheduled flight, we arranged for a later flight and for Matt Brase to travel with you, working with the NBA to accommodate your concerns. Shortly after that, we informed you that we thought it would be beneficial for you to meet with Dr. Aaron Fink, a world-renowned psychiatrist, who could provide you with access to an appropriate professional in Houston to help should any situations arise. We gave you Dr. Fink’s contact information and several available times for an interview. You and your representatives responded that you viewed this as a very helpful step and confirmed that you would meet with Dr. Fink. You did not do so.


At the end of the letter, Morey quoted an addendum that White requested be included in his contract.

The page labeled “Mental Health Protocol” begins as follows:

In order for the working conditions to be safe and healthy for someone with mental illness/disability, it is the belief of the medical experts and myself credited for this document that a protocol has to be developed on how to appropriately deal with an individual in respect to mental illness(s)/disabilities from an operational and medical standpoint. A protocol will not only ensure the safe and healthy work conditions for a player like myself with mental illness, but also will lend a system of accountability for both the team and I to use to base what is the appropriate route of action.

Due to the lack of protocol regarding mental illness, this agreed upon document will serve as an addendum to insert into the medical category of the contract and team rules.

1. Protocol terms

a: Acknowledgment: Acknowledging mental illness/disability as being in the category of mental condition.

i. Recognizing the individualistic nature of mental illness

1. All mental illnesses unique to each individual despite similar diagnosis.

It’s unclear how the Chronicle obtained the letter, but it may not be a coincidence that it surfaced Saturday night. Earlier in the day, details emerged from White’s interview with correspondent Bernard Goldberg of HBO’s Real Sports With Bryant Gumbel.

White expressed various concerns about how the team was handling his highly publicized anxiety and obsessive compulsive disorders. The 16-minute segment will air Tuesday night.

The Rockets drafted White 16th overall in the 2012 NBA draft. He has yet to play a game with the team this season, and he hasn’t practiced with Houston since Nov. 6.