No Independence Day break for Tar Heels in the news
Posted July 7
The Fourth of July fireworks stash from Fort Pedro's at South of the Border is spent, the embers from your weekend cookout have finally burned out and recycling bins are filled to capacity with crushed beer cans. Welcome back to the real world, ladies and gentlemen. Hope everyone feels refreshed and blessed to have enjoyed a break, because not everyone got one last week.
Just ask Tar Heel fans who had to keep dealing with more ridiculousness in the headlines. Let's run down the full week of news items that undoubtedly brought on headaches worse than a third round of your neighbor's margaritas.
After hearing the NCAA plans on coming back to campus, your reaction was probably something like this.
Then Mary Willingham filed a civil suit against North Carolina, felony fraud charges against Julius Nyang'oro were dropped because of his cooperation with investigators and Rashad McCants is talking to everyone except officials in Chapel Hill.
In non-academic scandal news, ESPN decided a head coach with two NCAA Championships and seven Final Four appearances wasn't good enough to crack the top 10 of their college basketball coach rankings. Turns out Roy Williams' resume gets him placed 16th out of 50.
Even an off-season news blurb about an NFL player getting popped for a DWI had Tar Heel connections. Turns out Cleveland Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon was driving a car registered to PJ Hairston when he was pulled over on Glenwood Avenue. Gordon getting bailed out by Haydn "Fats" Thomas simply added delicious icing to the derp cake.
Yes, that Hadyn "Fats" Thomas.
And speaking of Hairston, he's due in court after an altercation with a high school basketball player at the Durham YMCA.
Now, can we adults and talk for a minute about Hairston? Cool.
Hairston's various transgressions dating back to last summer are relatively low calorie situations when digested individually. However, it ends up looking like Joey Chestnut after he's scarfed down 61 hot dogs when assessing Hairston's overall story arc.
First it was weed and a gun at a traffic stop in Durham. Then it was speeding and parking tickets, which turned into impermissible benefits involving rental cars. After he was given another opportunity to get his head on straight from Williams, Hairston was caught speeding again and immediately suspended indefinitely. Apparently Hairston and the NCAA weren't on the same page when it came to those rental cars, so North Carolina chalked him up to a lost cause on eligibility and didn't apply for his reinstatement. He wound up grinding for a season in the NBDL, where Hairston became somewhat of a curiosity leading up to the NBA Draft. The Charlotte Hornets thought enough of Hairston to select him late in the first round. His former college coach lauded the journey and Hairston openly talked about learned lessons.
Well, about that.
Getting into a fight with a high schooler at the local YMCA isn't the best look, but it's really not a huge deal. Hanging with an NFL player during a holiday weekend, who ends up getting pulled over in your car, is an unfortunate circumstance. But then "Fats" Thomas shows up on the scene and you think back to all those other moments in the Hairston timeline.
It's not unreasonable to wonder if Hairston learned anything at all.