I'm sure all of you have heard the saying "you never get a second chance to make a first impression." Well, North Carolina's P.J. Hairston can only hope he gets a second chance to make a last impression.
In 2012-13, Hairston loaded up the stat sheets for UNC. Even though he was fifth in minutes per game with 23.6 minutes, he led all Tar Heels with 14.6 points per game.
This summer, Hairston is averaging one run-in with the law per month since May.
Head coach Roy Williams tried to give him the benefit of the doubt. He waited patiently through the legal proceedings of his arrest before taking action. But Hairston's third incident—reckless driving, per —was enough for Williams to pull the trigger on an indefinite suspension.
And rightfully so. Hairston essentially slapped his coach in the face.
Let's consider the timeline of events.
On May 13, Hairston was busted for speeding in a Chevy Camaro. This incident went largely unnoticed, as most of us have had our share of speeding tickets in the past.
Then on June 5, Hairston and two other men were arrested during a license check for possession of marijuana. He was also driving a rented 2013 GMC Yukon without a license. In addition to those charges, a gun and another bag of pot were also found.
Like the injuries he sustained last season, he didn't let these charges get him down. On July 4, he spent the day in Masonboro Island, shotgunning beers with fellow beach-goers, according to The Big Lead.
I'm not one to rag on anyone for having a little college fun, but there are situations where one should lay low for a while, and an arrest should meet those requirements.
Especially when underage drinking is also illegal. Hairston is only 20 years old.
Two days later, USA Today released a report that cast an even darker shadow over Hairston's offseason. Eric Prisbell uncovered a link to the Camaro and Yukon that could potentially burn the program and deem Hairston ineligible.
The cars were rented by two different people, Catinia Farrington and Haydn Thomas. Both people, however, are registered at the same address.
Now, on top of everything else, there is a possibility that Hairston was receiving improper benefits.
On July 15, according to Inside Carolina, Coach Williams issued a statement saying Hairston made "serious mistakes," which would result in "serious consequences" for the rising junior.
Less than a week later, Hairston's charges were dismissed, following a "drug assessment" and the presentation of his current license.
Hairston got really lucky, and this compilation of events would be enough for most players to lock themselves in a dorm room and throw away the key.
Not P.J. Hairston.
On July 28, Hairston was pulled over for reckless driving. He was going 93 mph in a 65 mph zone, just outside of Salisbury, N.C. This time, he was driving a 2008 Acura TL—the owner of which is unknown at this time.
The arrest made a lot of us question Hairston's judgment. He was supposed to be the man at North Carolina this coming season, and he could have been selected in the first round of the 2014 NBA draft with a big junior season.
Now, his future looks more cloudy than ever before.
The way this summer has gone, I wouldn't be surprised if Hairston never suited up again for the Tar Heels, as sad as that is to say.
What he has done goes beyond a simple lack of judgment by a 20-year-old rising star. He showed blatant disregard for his actions and disrespect for the program by refusing to lay low.
There comes a time to own up to your indiscretions, and now is that time for Hairston. The smartest thing for him to do is hold a public apology. That would go a long way in regaining the trust of his supporters.
He owes that to all of his fans that stood by him through the arrest. He owes it to his Hall of Fame coach. He owes it to his teammates. Most of all, he owes it to the program.
By no means am I saying Hairston is a bad apple. In fact, I still believe he is a good kid at heart.
Everyone makes mistakes, and his future shouldn't be destroyed over this. But he does need a harsh enough punishment to make sure he gets the point this time.
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