Sunday, July 6, 2014

You have got to be kidding us, P.J.

I originally thought the Charlotte Hornets made a smart move when they traded for former UNC player P.J. Hairston late in the first round of last month's NBA draft (he was No.26 overall). But the first warning flag is flying now and it's a big one: Hairston got in an "altercation" in Durham Sunday while involved in a pickup basketball game.

Hairston and a high school basketball player named Kentrell Barkley first pushed each other and then punched each other in Durham Sunday, Hairston's agent told The Observer's Rick Bonnell. Here is an updated story.

But P.J., are you kidding me? Seriously, are you kidding me?

This, of course, is the same Hairston who got in so much trouble as a Tar Heel that he ended up playing last season in the D-League instead of in Chapel Hill. He would have been the best player on the court most of the time for a UNC team that could have sorely used him.

Hairston is the player the Hornets interviewed over and over and talked about repeatedly in staff meetings as they tried to figure out whether he would do something else that would cause the wrong sort of headlines, the one who said "I'm a changed man" after the eligibility problems and the traffic stops. He made a lot of people believe it, and a lot of those people are wondering exactly why they believed it at the moment.

This is the man who should have walked away from a potential fight Sunday. He had to walk away.

He didn't walk away.

Barkley, in fact, says he didn't throw a single punch but got hit twice. I wasn't there and don't know what happened exactly. You also can see a lump on Barkley's forehead in this video, although it is unclear whether it is from the punch. I know pickup basketball gets heated with all those hard fouls, and I've played enough of it and seen enough of it to not be surprised when tempers flare.

But punching a 17-year-old, rising high school senior?! Really, P.J.?! You are the first-round draft pick and the older guy and the one with by far the most to lose in this situation. Did any of that go through your head when you wound up for that punch?

Many things are left unknown at the moment, although Hairston did issue an apology through the Hornets Monday afternoon. He is now with the team for a summer-league practice.

But the Hornets need to do something. Certainly, Hairston can recover from this. But it looks bad -- both for Hairston and for the Hornets.

41 comments:

Carter said...

It's not like he attacked some kid 10 years younger than him. Was it wrong of him to do so? Yes. But we can't expect him to be a perfect human being. Tempers flare with everyone, not just PJ Hairston.

Anonymous said...

Police not involved.

And PJ was not "the No. 1 draft pick."

Anonymous said...

A public apology is not necessary because it doesn't mean anything. P.J. just needs to stay out of trouble, period. Who is he listening to and who does he respect enough to accept good advice? I think I heard his mother in a pre-draft interview say something to the effect "that PJ didn't need to cut ties with his old circle. If that is the line of thinking, then that's a problem.

Scott, I agree it doesn't matter whose fault it was. And after everything else that has happened, there is no legitimate excuse whatsoever unless there is some undetected problem. Did anybody check the kid for ADHD? He has the symptoms.

If he is ADHD, all the talking in the world is not going to help without some type of intervention. ADHD is labeled a disability for a reason.

Anonymous said...

Come on Observer find a real story.

Unknown said...

the carolina way...what a joke that once proud university has become.

Anonymous said...

I was there. I live in Durham and this is my local y. Pj has played there many times. The teenager is one of the nicest kids that plays there. I saw the whole thing and when the YMCA video comes out pj is going to be in trouble. There was a minor argument and pj just hauled off and punched him. Very hard. The kid didn't retaliate at all. I have no reason to make this up. It was vicious.

Anonymous said...

It's not fair to judge this situation without full knowledge of what happened... Sensationalistic journalism is a product of bored journalists. When was the last time someone punched you in the face Scott? I seriously doubt you would scrutinize yourself for defending yourself. Also, what do you know about this high school player? It's kind of immature for you to put superhuman expectations onto a 22 year... I'm sure you had you share of shenanigans. What do you know about discipline sir? What gives you the right to speak indignantly about Hairston defending himself? You ride the coattails of reality while others train their bodies and build the world around you that so easily take for granted. The high schooler could have been the same size as Hairston, possibly even bigger. What if the teenager instigated Hairston knowing he was being scrutinized by drama hungry reporters such as yourself? I am tired of gossip mongering by grown men. Stop taking the easy way and out and right a journalistic article with realistic and interesting premises. Hairston is not a bust for defending himself, you're a wimp for making a big deal out of it. These rookies have the world on their shoulders- already- and don't need extra gossip.

Anonymous said...

Making to much of this, only because of his past. If it was ANY other player it would have just been another altercation. But since it's PJ it's being overblown. Even if it's a high school kids, high school basketball players WE weren't there. Before making articles like this, let facts come out first....

Anonymous said...

The Hornets won't do anything.

Everyone knows humans love a spectacle of violence.

Hairston's altercation will just sell more tickets.

Anonymous said...

Anxious to hear MJ's comments on this.

Anonymous said...

PJ is a thug and always will be. The Hornets were idiots for drafting him.

Anonymous said...

Loving the intensity already PJ...bring that fire with you to Charlotte and let's win some games.

Bird said...

I'm staggered with the folks defending PJ here. As Scott said, it doesn't matter who was at fault. PJ screwed up at UNC and was kicked out. Given a second chance in the D-League. He screwed up again with the recent traffic stop and gun possession. Given a third chance by the Hornets.

He's in a situation where whe has to go above and beyond to prove his character now. 26th draft pick, huge opportunity and future in front of him. In that situation, whoever was at fault, you show some maturity and awareness of your circumstances and walk away. And if you can't control yourself enough to walk away, you don't put yourself in a context where this could happen in the first place.

Anonymous said...

unc alum here..it never stops. embarrassing for the university and the hornets. hornets should have never drafted him.

Anonymous said...

STOP THE PRESSES!!! Because NOBODY EVER gets in shoving matches in YMCA pickup games.... Parents, protect your Charlotte kids because we MUST have a psychopath on our hands...

Come on people...

Anonymous said...

lol at this guy who "was there":

Anonymous said...
I was there. I live in Durham and this is my local y. Pj has played there many times. The teenager is one of the nicest kids that plays there. I saw the whole thing and when the YMCA video comes out pj is going to be in trouble. There was a minor argument and pj just hauled off and punched him. Very hard. The kid didn't retaliate at all. I have no reason to make this up. It was vicious.
July 7, 2014 at 1:09 AM

Anonymous said...

You get what you pay for. Buy a thug, ya got one 24/7..

Anonymous said...

So P.J. got into an altercation like Jordan did against Reggie Miller ? Hornets need some toughness. Scott you are a little punk who obviously never played any basketball. It happens on the court. Maybe you should cover WNBA or flowers.

The Tarheel Way said...

You're surprised Scott? Really? Have you paid attention to the mess they've been trying to cover up the last several years in Cheater Hill? These aren't exactly upstanding citizens they've been handing out uniforms to.

Other Guy is Lying said...

I was there as well. And I assure you PJ didn't throw the first punch, and I was interviewed by the police and told them as much. This is a non-story. It was a heated moment at a local YMCA. It happens about 10,000 times a day. Good lord you NCSU fans need a life. Get out of your moms basement and quit fixating on UNC. You will feel much better about yourself!

Scott Fowler said...

If the 2 people who say they were there and saw the incident -- one saying P.J. did not throw the first punch and one saying the high school kid was not at fault at all -- would please contact me at sfowler@charlotteobserver.com I would like to talk to you both as we try to gather all the facts about this story.... Thanks, Scott

James Edgar said...

As for the altercation itself, I'm willing to bet that the "minor argument" was one person talking junk to the other one, and the receiver of the junk-talk thought his manhood was being questioned, and the one and only way to answer such a question is to fight somebody. Something ridiculous like that.

As a Hornets fan, I'm not particularly worried about a player getting mixed up in a pickup game fight, as long as he doesn't feel the urge to pick a fight against an NBA player twice his size. That anger can be channeled into game intensity like Steve Smith has always had.

Since PJ went to UNC, it gives me a chuckle to add yet another indiscretion to the ever-growing list of them from that school, because so many people think that either going there or rooting for their sports teams make them superior life forms to everyone else.

Anonymous said...

UNC - now the "punch" line of every joke

Concerned Fan said...

I would question why a 1 st round and potentially 'at risk' player would be playing pickup ball a week before summer camps begin.

Anonymous said...

a bigger concern is why he was even in the game. After making it to the NBA the last thing he and the Hornets would want is a season ending injury, at the Y.

Anonymous said...

In related news, Browns receiver Josh Gordon was driving P J Hairston's car when he was pulled over for DWI in Raleigh this weekend. Gordon was bailed out of jail by (drum-roll) by Fats Thomas, the guy who provided all the rental cars to P J while he was in school. (this story is reported on CBSSports.com) What's the over/under on how long before P J is arrested? I say less than 6 months.

jason said...

Whats the chances that Anonymous said is the same couple NBA haters posting over and over

Anonymous said...

Jason,

I am the anonymous that posted the Ben Gordon link. I'm a Hornets fan, all the way back to the original Hornets. I am afraid they made a mistake in drafting a guy who has a consistent track record of being in trouble. Apparently he is still hanging out with convicted felon Fats Thomas; that doesn't bode well. Another Anonymous posted that he has ADHD; that's an interesting theory that even Roy Williams didn't bring up. Proof?

realpanthersfan said...

^^^^ that would actually be funny. but i am the first person who posted and i can assure you i didn't post some of the stupidity that has been said. But i did post a name this time. Only reason i didnt the first time was just being lazy.

Fraser said...

Michael Jordan knocked Steve Kerr out cold at practice one time. It happens. Should he probably not been playing pickup ball at a local? Maybe. Although if you go to the Dowd Y here in Charlotte you see NBA players and Panther players playing pick up ball. Don't think this incident should be turned into such a big deal. Should it be a learning experience? Of course but no need to drop the thug label on a guy. Plus dude PJ was arguing with was 6-6 200lbs. Not like the dude is a little boy who couldn't take it. If this was an NBA game people would be applauding PJ for showing toughness and not taking crap from other players.

Unknown said...

The Panthers didn't do anything to Steve Smith and the Hornets won't do anything to PJ.

Anonymous said...

Just another NBA thug.

He said, she said...

This will soon blow over as the minor event it is. What PJ needs to learn is that it's okay to be tough physically, but even more important, mentally if he's going to make it in the NBA. But it's not okay to lose your cool. If the word on the streets is that PJ has a temper and can be knocked off his game with a little taunt here and therem, that's all she wrote. Hopefully once he comes under the wings of the Hornets, he'll get some good advice on how to control and channel the energy. I hope he listens.

Bird said...

The comments here continue to baffle me. So, if this costs PJ his rookie contract, it's the Hornets being unfair and not PJ being an idiot, right? Because you wouldn't have walked away from a fight for a couple of million dollars over the next couple of years? (http://www.forbes.com/sites/jasonbelzer/2014/06/27/2014-nba-draft-1st-round-rookie-salaries-projections/)

Whoopsy Daisy! said...

Scott, if either of the two contact you I bet it's the kid who said Barkely never threw a punch and the YMCA video will support him. The guy who said he gave the police a statement is lying, made it up.

Michael Jordan did not knock Steve Kerr "out cold", never happened, and it's not relevant in any way.

You morons can whine and moan and continue on with your "nothing to see here" line of reasoning but the facts are PJ Hairston has been charged with assault, Mr. Barkely has not...

...why do you think this is? Think the cops have already seen the video?

Get a kick out of PJ's stupid agent trying to muddy the waters with his "both connected" nonsense, what a moron. By saying that he has confirmed that PJ did in fact hit the kid.

weenguy said...

calm down everyone, this will blow over as fast as PJ's NBA career. HEYYOOOOO!

Anonymous said...

PJ needs to be at church on Sunday and not playing basketball. I hate this for him because he is guilty in the court of public opinion.

Anonymous said...

Reply to:

Anonymous said...

JULY 7, 2014 AT 12:18 AM

What ADHD symptoms? Do you mean characteristics? And if there are any, I don't believe this incident qualifies any of them. ADHD and simply having no parental guidance as a child constitutes having ADHD. PJ is just being a bully, like what Steve Smith had/has and needs to give it up...quickly. Having ADHD means you have the tendency to start things and don't complete them then move on to something else.

Get your facts straight!

Anonymous said...

Folks, I think this latest incident reflects a pattern of behavior. Apologies and excuses eventually don't mean much if a person continues to make bad choices and decisions. I hope PJ learns from this and goes on to have a great NBA career, but right now, he is not doing himself any favors.

Anonymous said...

I am shocked that all the academic traing he received in the AFAM classes didn't help him avoid these types of issues.

...Oh, wait...

Anonymous said...

Not so sure he want to be a Hornet anyway.