Saturday, June 8, 2013

P.J. Hairston Arrest in North Carolina Makes Me Sick

For the entire start to the back story, read up on it here.  The quick version is that P.J. Hairston ... UNC's top player for the upcoming 2013-14 college basketball season ... was pulled over at a checkpoint.  He and his riding buddies were in a rental car (they are all under 25) found with weed, cigars, no drivers licence and apparently someone threw a gun out the window. 

There are tons of layers to this.  In the beginning, we only knew about the weed and the lack of a license.  While it is disappointing and somewhat serious, it wasn't enough to banish the kid and ruin his life.  While a serious mistake, it isn't the kind that needs to be severely punished.  But the part of the report about the gun is quite a different story.  Now there are a ton of questions that must be answered if Hairston is going to be able to make this go away and continue his Tar Heels career.

Fanboys are hitting message boards with two main arguments: "Kick him off the team" or "who cares, I just want to see him draining threes".  Anti-Heels fans are having a field day with this, especially on the "heels" of all the academic issues the school has had over the past five years. 

As a lifelong North Carolina fan who grew up in Charlotte ... I'm sick of this!

I hate this.  I hate what has happened to the program Dean Smith built.  Sure, UNC was great before Smith, but he inherited a mess like this and turned it around.  I'm not saying this is Roy Williams fault or anything and I'm not saying Tar Heels in the past haven't made mistakes, but whatever has happened of late is troubling.  I don't like it.

Let me be clear.  I know that what Hairston did has absolutely nothing to do with the university (as of now) aside from the punishment to be handed out.  Right now, this was solely Hairston's bad decision that UNC and its fans have to deal with.  However, the rental car agreement could be huge for the school if it was paid for by someone like a booster or anyone associated with the school.  If so, the NCAA could come down hard on the school and the basketball program.

Even if it never gets to that point, as a whole I hate the stain these kinds of things are having on Carolina.

I'm not one of those people who shrugs this stuff off.  I don't think that everyone is doing it so it's not a huge deal if we have problems.  But it bothers me.  It makes me sick.  I don't like it.  And as the one Tar Heel fan that people who I live around and work with know, I want them to understand I don't condone this nor make an excuse for Hairston.

I also understand both ends of this.  That may have not been Hairston's marijuana or gun and, though he didn't have a license, he may have had his parents (who reside in Greensboro) sign for his rental car.  He may not be as guilty as it looks.  However, he could be and this may not be the first time he's been in these kinds of situations but just the first time he's been caught. 

As far as Hairston, I'd hate for his life to be ruined by being kicked off the basketball team or the school if it was a marijuana possession or even driving without a license.  A punishment should come, but nothing that will ruin him.  If the gun possession comes back as his or even stolen and/or the rental car comes up as paid for by a booster or something, then I cannot argue with him being dismissed from the team.  Yes, it would be a blow to the team as far as his talent and role on it, but being a Tar Heel hoops player is a privilege.  He earned it.  But like anything earned, it can be taken away by bad decisions and actions.

I'm sure Roy Williams has told P.J. this, but I want to reiterate.  Hairston nearly went into the NBA Draft this year and may have had designs on entering next year -- or at the very worst an NBA career when he graduates.  While he's a very good player, he isn't the superstud that NBA teams can overlook character issues.  If driving around with guns and drugs is worth losing all of that for, then I guess he wouldn't care if the school kicked him off the team. 

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