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Joe Ovies

Hairston risks trust of coach, university

Posted July 10, 2013

North Carolina's PJ Hairston holds his injured hand during the Tar Heels' 87-77 title game loss to Miami in the 60th ACC Tournament on Sunday, March 17, 2013 in Greensboro, NC (Photo by Jack Morton).

Ask North Carolina head basketball coach Roy Williams about P.J. Hairston and he'll give you his standard answer. Williams will wait for all the facts to come in and he'll make a statement when said facts are all available. 

North Carolina Director of Athletics Bubba Cunningham went so far as to issue a statement backing Williams' sentiment about not making statements, explaining it's his common practice "not to comment on the individuals involved or the details surrounding these reports until we have sufficient understanding of the facts involved."

When you consider how Hairston's arrest in June evolved from initial reports of a simple marijuana possession to connections with a convicted felon's fleet of rental cars, the position taken by the university makes plenty of sense. The Durham Police Department hasn't upgraded any charges or revealed forensics on the gun found outside the 2013 GMC Yukon used on the night of the arrest. Then there's Haydn “Fats” Thomas complicating matters, even if he told WRAL that he doesn't know what all the fuss is about.

Hairston has driven Thomas' vehicles at least twice based his traffic stop history. Either he has incredibly bad luck, where the only instances he got behind the wheel of those cars were the same times he got popped, or Hairston made a habit of rolling around town in Thomas' rides.

Thomas said he let Miykael Faulcon, a basketball player at Elizabeth City State and a friend of Hairston, borrow the cars. However, the nine parking tickets issued this spring on UNC's campus to four different cars linked to Thomas certainly raise additional questions.

It's fair to question Thomas' credibility and his ties to North Carolina's basketball program. It took Thomas over a week to consistently stick to his talking points after emphatically claiming he didn't know anyone at Carolina. Along the way it was discovered he sold a phone to Tar Heels basketball player Leslie McDonald, was photographed with John Henson and left behind a social media trail of interaction with athletes. Thomas continues to put the onus on Faulcon, but his mother told USA Today that her son only has a connection to Hairston and that she hopes "the innocent remain innocent."

North Carolina doesn't have the benefit of hindsight in this situation, so it would be disingenuous not to take Cunningham at his word and believe they're still "gathering information" in Chapel Hill. The loose ends regarding Thomas might lead nowhere or they could unveil more impermissible benefits.

However, there is an individual who likely knows all the facts – Hairston.

The assumption would be the player laid all of this out to his coach in their first meeting following the arrest. If that's not the case, then Hairston will have more to worry about than the NCAA. Any level of trust between Williams and his leading scorer from last season would be torched. 

Cunningham added in his statement that "where the facts show mistakes in judgment and/or actions, Coach (Roy) Williams will take and I will support the appropriate disciplinary measures."

Hairston has been ticketed for speeding in a car that wasn't his, drove without a license in another vehicle that wasn't his and was cited for possession of marijuana. He doesn't necessarily have a direct relationship with a known felon, but he's certainly friends with a guy who does "odd jobs" for said felon. Then Hairston couldn't keep a low profile and was photographed shotgunning beers at the beach over a holiday weekend. 

So I'd say "mistakes in judgment" have already occurred for Hairston, and Williams has enough to discipline his player as he sees fit. 

The only question is whether or not the NCAA has any interest in adding to it.

79 Comments

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  • accfanatic01 Jul 14, 10:41 a.m.

    The talent of the player should have no bearing on the punishment of a player that has had legal and ncaa troubles.

  • Hokies94 Jul 12, 7:58 p.m.

    Us fans always will come to the fore when one of our super-stars can't play due to some infraction of the law. I guess that it's OK when our Congress and President haven't gotten it right either in many years. Our esteemed NCAA wavor like the wind blowing. There is no justice in our Sports. Politics still rule. Giving huge monies still rules. Most people want to win games vs getting it right. It's a systemic problem. Just allow our top players to keep on playing and that we win another Championship. Forget about the rules. VT kicked off our best RB this week. Am glad. Go Hokies!

  • olivechapel1000 Jul 12, 10:19 a.m.

    http://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/ncaab/sec/2013/07/12/marshall-henderson-ole-miss-drugs/2511145/

  • packfan07 Jul 12, 8:17 a.m.

    LOL there is no honor in being trusted by that university or that coach. The "Carolina... View More

    — Posted by rayraynral

    Uh, Mark Gottfried....

    — Posted by heelsforever

    When did Gottfried violate NCAA rules? He cased a cheerleader at Alabama, 90% of men chase other weomen.

  • heelsforever Jul 11, 2:08 p.m.

    The dude hasn't even had his day in court and everyone wants his head on a silver platter.... View More

    — Posted by mxteam44

    That really does not apply here. Yes, in the case of Jail time or fines or his record. But he... View More

    — Posted by olivechapel1000

    Wow, then TOBy really screwed up when he didn't immediately kick JR off the team.

  • heelsforever Jul 11, 1:42 p.m.

    LOL there is no honor in being trusted by that university or that coach. The "Carolina... View More

    — Posted by rayraynral

    Uh, Mark Gottfried....

  • Ken D. Jul 11, 11:07 a.m.

    UNC: Cheat and suffer NO consequences. All schools should cheat............this is the lesson.

    — Posted by Alex25

    It's the lesson because it's true. Cheating pays - big time. That's why every major college, and most of the minor ones, do it. But it's hard for me too get too worked up about it. The schools are engaged in an activity and a system that is dishonest at its very core. The NCAA itself is based on the blatantly dishonest premise that these are amateur activities. The government is complicit in this fraud, allowing fat cat donors to take a tax deduction for the cost of their premium seats at entertainment events. Schools are complicit in pretending that there is an educational purpose to promoting professional basketball and football.

    And we the fans are complicit because we would scream bloody murder if we were deprived of the joy of living vicariously through the athletic exploits of our heroes.

    And with everybody else guilty of perpetrating this massive fraud, we choose to criticize and punish the athletes who entertain us. Forgive me if I can't work up much outrage.

  • olivechapel1000 Jul 11, 11:02 a.m.

    I really hope this works out so PJ can return to the team. The young man made a costly mistake.... View More

    — Posted by Tackman792000

    If I was a UNC fan, I'd still want to wait for all the facts to come in before absolutely... View More

    — Posted by 903 PJ trusted Rodney Blackstock

    Not sure why someone would make this comment. Vidicated? You have Drugs, Gun, shady car situation. It seems you care more about wins and points more than a young persons life. He needs to clean up. Unreal is all I have to awy abour your comments.

  • chuck2 Jul 11, 10:56 a.m.

    Cheaers never win

    — Posted by kmor2013

    You need to at least spell correctly if you are going to post.

  • Objective Scientist Jul 11, 10:21 a.m.

    They need to lose the 'hood' mentality and stop acting overly entitled. - scousler

    The dude hasn't even had his day in court and everyone wants his head on a silver platter.... View More

    — Posted by mxteam44

    That really does not apply here. Yes, in the case of Jail time or fines or his record. But he... View More

    — Posted by olivechapel1000

    Agreed! Both are good statements! Very much in line with my thoughts!!!

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