Roy Williams has suspended wing P.J. Hairston, but he has not said how long that suspension will be.
Roy Williams has one clear message for the media. Stop! Enough with the P.J. Hairston questions.
"I've read about it all damn summer, I'm tired of reading about, tired of talking about it," Williams told Andrew Carter of the News & Observer on Wednesday at a charity golf tournament. "If you want to talk about anything else, I'll talk about anything."
Whew. I'm tired of it too, Coach.
And I'm sure those North Carolina reporters are tired of asking. I'm sure they would be more than willing to write about anything else. Anything.
But whether Hairston is worth the words or not, he's the best player on North Carolina's team and his status is up in the air. Why? Because Williams has left it up in the air. And people want to know the status of the best player on one of the most popular basketball programs in the country.
The most honest, direct response North Carolina has given on Hairston came Thursday at a faculty retreat. You could say it was by accident. UNC athletic director Bubba Cunningham was asked if Hairston would play this year. And wouldn't you know it, a dadgum journalism professor was there to relay his answer.
Bubba Cunningham takes a PJ question. "Will he play?" Answer: "Yes, but not all the games."— Andy Bechtel (@andybechtel) August 15, 2013
Well, that's something.
And you know what's next...
How many games? And why will he play again?
Those are questions Williams should get used to, because those are fair questions.
Those would be fair questions after Hairston got caught driving a rental car without a licence rented by a convicted felon, Haydn "Fats" Thomas, with marijuana in the car and a gun nearby. (Charges, which did not include anything with the gun, were dropped.) Williams didn't want to talk after that.
Those would be fair questions after it was later reported that Hairston also got a speeding ticket in May while also driving a rental linked to Thomas.
Williams, himself, decided to talk after that news. He called it "embarrassing." He said Hairston would suffer "serious consequences."
You would think. And you would think that would be the end of it. When do we learn to quit messing up because we've disappointed our parents? Three? Four?
Hairston is 20. And he clearly does not give a damn what you think of him, what Roy Williams thinks of him or what UNC fans think of him.
How long should P.J. Hairston's suspension be?
Because after all the bad press he had given the program from his indifference behind the wheel, Hairston decided he felt comfortable enough to drive down the interstate at 93 mph. He got caught. He got suspended indefinitely, a punishment that allows a coach to think on it.
See, it's easy for anyone else to think that Hairston will play this season—"but not all the games"—because UNC still cares that he can make shots.
That's what Williams' "I'm tired of talking about this" says. Because Williams could put an end to the questions. He has enough information that he, Roy Williams, could end this.
Everyone supports giving a guy a second chance, right? I know I do. But Hairston, as far as we know, is at least on chance No. 3. When he got his second chance, he flipped the Tar Heels the bird while cruising at 93 mph.
There's enough foolishness there for Williams to justifiably give Hairston the boot.
But Hairston is going to play. We know that now thanks to Cunningham and a faculty retreat.
Imagine that. UNC faculty wanted to know whether one of its most high-profile students was going to be allowed to play this year. Shame on their curiosity.
Someone better tell Williams about this in case he's given up reading entirely. He's going to get questions about what Cunningham said. And he could say "this is how many games Hairston is going to miss unless he messes up again." That, too, would bring most of the questions to a halt.
Of course, Williams has a right to not do that. He can keep saying he's tired of the story. But the journalists who cover the team have every right to keep asking.