Good news for Hairston: No additional police charges
After a week of bad publicity, North Carolina swingman P.J. Hairston received a bit of good news Wednesday.
Durham Police Department spokeswoman Kammie Michael said the department does not anticipate filing any additional charges against the rising junior, who was arrested at a Durham license checkpoint on June 5 and charged with misdemeanor possession of marijuana and driving without a license.
The two other passengers in the car, Durham residents Miykael Faulcon and Carlos Sanford, were also charged with marijuana possession. All three are scheduled to appear in Durham County Court on Aug. 6.
The police also found a 9mm handgun, nine rounds of ammunition and a plastic bag with 41.1 grams of marijuana outside the car during the traffic stop, but Michael did not clarify whether those items had been connected to anyone.
“We are not releasing any additional information in regards to this incident,” Michael said in an e-mail.
While the announcement by the DPD may clarify Hairston’s legal liability, his playing status for the start of next season remains unclear because of potential investigations by UNC and the NCAA.
Earlier Wednesday, Tar Heels athletic director Bubba Cunningham released a statement saying that the school is still gathering information and will not comment until the facts are clear.
“Where the facts show mistakes in judgment and/or actions, Coach (Roy) Williams will take and I will support the appropriate disciplinary measures,” Cunningham said.
It was the first statement issued by Cunningham or Williams since Hairston’s arrest.
At that time, Hairston was driving a luxury SUV rented by convicted felon Haydn “Fats” Thomas. Three weeks before the license checkpoint, Hairston was stopped for speeding while driving a 2012 Chevrolet Camero that had been rented by Catinia Farrington, who lives with Thomas in Durham.
The connection between Hairston’s vehicles and Thomas was first reported by USA Today.
The Camero was given parking tickets on UNC’s campus on April 15 and May 28, though it’s not known who was driving the car at those times.
The NCAA could consider Hairston’s use of the rentals an extra benefit. In that case, he would have to pay back the value of the rentals for the time he used them, and also sit out a portion of the season as punishment. The penalties would grow if Thomas was linked to an agent.
Thomas has said he had no connections with Hairston, an agent or UNC. The 39-year-old has been convicted of multiple felonies and was charged in December with possession of marijuana, drug paraphernalia and a firearm by a convicted felon.
Without naming Hairston in his statement, Cunningham said his staff is fully aware of recent media reports and is taking them seriously.
“The integrity of the University of North Carolina is of paramount concern to all of us and is the principle on which Coach Williams and the athletic department operate each and every day. The most responsible course of action, however, is to withhold judgment and comment until we are confident we have the facts to do so.
“I appreciate everyone’s understanding of that and we will bring these matters to resolution as soon as possible.”
Elizabeth City State, where Faulcon is a rising sophomore on the basketball team, is taking a similar approach with its player. ECSU sports information director April Emory said the school will not comment until the legal issues are resolved.
“Miykael has to deal with the legal angle before any final decisions would be made,” Emory said in an e-mail.
Thomas has said that he loaned the SUV to Faulcon, though Faulcon’s mother, Trudy Ransom, told USA Today that her son did not know Thomas.
“I am not going to sit back and let my son Miykael Faulcon be the fall guy,” Ransom wrote on Facebook. “If you want the truth ask me don’t assume…”
But Faulcon and Ransom both declined to comment while at the S.J.G. Greater N.C. Pro-Am basketball summer league at Durham School of the Arts on Tuesday.
Hairston, who led the team in scoring last season, is also under investigation by the school for potential ties to Rodney Blackstock, a fellow Greensboro native who was accused of giving $10,000 to former Kansas player Ben McLemore’s AAU coach in hopes of representing McLemore, who went on to become an NBA lottery pick last month.
Hairston is the first UNC basketball player arrested since Ty Lawson, who also considered entering the NBA before being arrested in the summer before his junior year. Lawson was convicted of driving after consuming alcohol under the age of 21, but was not suspended to start the following season.