Jayne Kamin-Oncea-US PRESSWIRE
Royce White has made no secret of his gripes with the Houston Rockets, but Tom isn't so sure his case adds up.
We've reached a paradox with Royce White's twitter campaign against the Rockets, folks, and I suppose the only reason I feel the need to address it here is because White's Internet charade doesn't appear to be slowing down any time soon.
I'll address the paradox later, but first, let's talk about Twitter, because all of the chaos in play stems solely from the social reconstructions set in motion by the Twitter Era, where your run-of-the-mill, average Twitter user — we'll call him "Person X" — thinks he can say something without really saying it.
Would Person X make the same edgy comment in-person? Probably not.
But on Twitter? Hey, Person X is protected by his computer screen, so go ahead, Person X: Fire away! It doesn't really count, right?
Media members on Twitter are the worst sometimes. They'll pass along vague information, unsubstantiated rumors and quick breaking news attempts that almost never come to fruition. "But what's the fuss?" they might ask. "It's just Twitter, right? It's not as if I'm saying it aloud or in print. I was just passing it along!"
Of course, when a reporter successfully breaks news on Twitter, make no mistake, he still wants all the credit for breaking the official story all the same. Only a handful of sports reporters — Adrian Wojnarowski, Adam Schefter, to name a few — use Twitter effectively. They don't let the personal quips, educated guesses and non-news get in the way. They understand how Twitter actually works when many people do not.
Remember that famous line from The Matrix? This one, right here:
"There is no spoon."
Ok, do me a favor: Apply that to Twitter. Let's see what we've got.
"There is no screen."
This, in a nutshell, is how smart people approach Twitter.
Twitter is an extension of the voice. When you're tweeting, you're actually talking. There are no boundaries and there are no barriers, even if you think they exist. It's the first form of perfectly open media since humans began... well, talking.
Think about that, and then consider this: One's unfiltered speech can potentially reach an unprecedented amount of people nowadays. Royce White's tweets reach 100,000 people. It's as if he is standing in a town square talking about anything whatsoever — at any time whatsoever — and there are 100,000 citizens who can hear him loud and clear.
On Twitter, there is no filter. What you say... well, is what you say.
And that's where we reach Royce White's paradox.
Royce is tweeting about honesty, so he says. He has hashtagged the word "honesty" quite a bit. He has also hashtagged the word "transparency" to describe his motive behind tweeting so openly. Royce White wants to get the truth out there, so he says, and he's out to do so on Twitter, a public forum just about as understanding and thoughtful as the YouTube comments section.
But here's the thing: Royce refused an interview request with the Houston Chronicle's Jonathan Feigen. He hasn't gone on television to explain his situation. He hasn't gone on talk radio to voice his concerns with the Rockets. Twitter is the only place we've heard from Royce thus far, and I think it's because he is afraid that appearing on any other media platform to explain himself might be 'taking it too far.'
Only, Twitter takes everything White says even further. To nearly 100,000 people, that is.
Does Royce want to make a personal connection with people so they can understand his condition and his situation with the team? By all indications, yes.
Then he should go on television and let them see him. It's the most personal connection he could possibly make. But Royce hasn't done that.
Does Royce want to share a different side to the story than the information that the Rockets and Rockets broadcaster Matt Bullard have provided? By all indications — including a few specific tweets — yes, he does.
Then he should have given his side of the story to Feigen, so that Chronicle readers could have a clearer view of what is going on here, as opposed to the one-sided story Feigen wrote basically favoring the Rockets. But Royce didn't do that.
You get my point. If Royce was such a strong believer in his side of the story and was convinced that he is really, truly being slighted by the organization, he'd do those things in a heartbeat. Clearly, he has the determination and conviction to speak his mind, and clearly (and miraculously), his people haven't stopped him to this point.
Instead, Royce is sitting behind his computer, heading up the Royce White News Network (RWNN), tweeting about honesty, transparency and the truth, when instead, he has done very little to provide anything of substance under those categories.
White hasn't given us a legitimate reason as to why he has constantly missed practice. He hasn't shared his reasoning for missing the Miami Heat game. He hasn't provided a direct response to those who say this is a gripe about playing time. He has mentioned his desire to see his own doctor, but that doesn't excuse him from skipping out on paid responsibilities, and the Rockets surely wouldn't be preventing him from a preferred doctor just to screw him. So instead of getting answers, we keep seeing tweets about honesty, transparency and the truth.
Of course, the paradox here is that if White were to reveal every last detail of his predicament, it could hurt his standing with the team more than he has already hurt it himself. The paradox is that the more Royce White begs for the truth to come out, the more he really, honestly, truly cannot tell us the truth himself.
If you ask me, there are two reasons for that:
A) He's aware that, as a professional, there is only so much he can say to the public, and while he has crossed that line to some extent already, he's not prepared to totally go overboard yet.
B) The truth is, at the end of the day, Royce just wants more playing time.
I'm free to speculate, as are any of you. And to be clear: I haven't reached a definitive conclusion yet about the motives behind all of this. But when you take all of the information at our disposal and piece it together, Option B is the best, most logical conclusion I can reach. And until Royce White or someone else tells us differently, I can only believe that he is hiding behind his condition in order to mask a desire to play.
That brings us back to the paradox, though: The more White says, the more it hurts him. So maybe he shouldn't say anything at all. Perhaps he'd get some playing time if he showed up to practices and games.
But we know that Royce will keep talking, because that's just Royce. So we'll continue meddling through the middleground between truth and position-plotting, waiting for a resolution. Maybe Royce shouldn't say anything more about the Rockets — his employer, the people paying him millions — but let this be clear: When White does say something about his gripes with Houston, for now, none of us should take him seriously. In fact, we shouldn't pay attention at all.
And that's fine, because guess what? We aren't the help Royce White needs. Whether this is about his condition or about his natural frustration as a benchwarming rookie, it's time White starts to search internally, on his own, for the best solution. I hope that as a seemingly lost and perhaps immature 21-year-old, he finds it. You should, too.