The crux of White's demand to the Rockets is that he needs his own personal doctor to decide whether he's in the right mental frame of mind to play a game or attend practice. That seems reasonable — until you consider what would happen if all 400-plus players in the NBA made the same request (for both mental and physical ailments). It would reinvent the power dynamic, effectively allowing players to dictate when they were healthy enough to participate.
But White doesn't see it like that.
Except that he does.
"My request was to have an addendum to my contract," he begins. "Now, would that set a precedent? That's not really my thing. I asked for something to be put into my contract. Not something for all players to use."
But then he continues talking. And this is where it becomes difficult to see how White and the Rockets will ever find real common ground, even if he eventually ends up on their roster.
"But if you want to talk about it through that lens, every player should have their own doctor. The reality is that American businesses are built on the idea of cutting overhead. And how do we cut overhead?" White points to the door that leads from the patio to the main restaurant. "Why do restaurants put exit signs over every exit? I bet if Cheesecake Factory didn't have to do that, they wouldn't. Because it would cost less to do nothing. They have to be forced to do that. So if a team or a business can save money by making things less safe, they're going to do that. They don't care. It's a conflict of interest to have the team doctor paid by the team. What we need is a doctor who can look at a situation and say, 'Listen, I know the team wants you to do this, and I know their doctor is saying you should do this. But as a non-biased doctor with no interest in how you perform athletically, I recommend differently.' Right now, you have players pushing themselves back in three weeks who have three-month injuries."
I ask him if he understands why NBA owners might be reluctant to give players that level of input into when they're ready to play basketball, particularly for a disease that's invisible (and arguably subjective).
"I'm always going to run into problems with people who think business is more important than human welfare," he replies.
I ask how he felt when the Real Sports reporter (Bernie Goldberg, who is also a correspondent for Fox's The O'Reilly Factor) referred to him as either courageous or "insufferable." White's initial response was confusion. His real response was unflinching.
"I think it's a very true statement. At the end of the day, we all stand on one side of a line, and it's always going to be opposed by somebody else," he says. And then he really goes to the rack. "I don't like to compare myself to other great people.8 But I'm sure Gandhi was insufferable to some people. Martin Luther King was insufferable. JFK was certainly insufferable. Galileo was insufferable. It's always tough to tolerate people who say the things that other people don't want to say."
You probably have a mental illness, if I learned anything from that article
he reminds me of that aggravating philosophy major who thinks too highly of himself and his intellect