Hornets' first round pick faces media after difficult week
Hornets' PJ Hairston - "I have a job now. I can't risk my job."
By Mike Leslie, Sports Anchor/Digital Journalist - email
Charlotte Hornets first round draft pick PJ Hairston addressed the media Thursday, for the first time since a pair of difficult incidents in the past week.
Hairston was allegedly involved in a fight with Kentrell Barkley, a high school student, during a pickup basketball game in Durham.
Hairston was also tangentially attached to the DWI arrest of Cleveland Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon. Gordon was arrested early Saturday morning after blowing a .09 blood-alcohol-content level, while driving Hairston’s car.
“I’m still in the learning process,” Hairston said. “I’m still in the maturing process, and I’m still growing up. And I still have a lot of growing up to do. I mean, life is life, you’re going to make mistakes. Now, this is something I have to move on from again.”
Hairston’s fight with Barkley took place at the YMCA in Durham.Hairston’s agent, Juan Morrow told the Charlotte Observer that Barkley was the aggressor.
“The other guy pushed (Hairston), and he pushed back. Both shoved each other,” Morrow said in a telephone interview.
At that point the altercation escalated into punches, the agent said.
“He swung at P.J., and P.J. swung back,” Morrow said, adding “both connected.”
Hairston told us on Thursday that it is incumbent upon him to take care of moving past these incidents.
“I don’t really depend on anyone else,” Hairston said. “I just really depend on myself.
“Of course, I get advice, but I don’t really take it in. I mean, I take it in, but it’s like I said, I’m grown now, I’m a grown man, and I have to take stuff into my own hands.”
Regarding Gordon’s DWI and how the NFL wide receiver ended up driving Hairston’s car, Hairston was similarly forthcoming.
“Me and Josh Gordon met at the Fresh Market… I went into the Fresh Market to get fruit. I was trying to take care of my body, trying to get fruit.And I just happened to run into (Josh) in there.
“And I mean, right away, I’m a football fan, so I knew who he was. And, right away we started talking about football, basketball.
“And we walked outside, and he asked “Do you mind if we switch cars?We exchanged numbers, we switched cars.
“I can just drive your car for the night, and I’ll bring it back to you, safe and sound,” Hairston said Gordon told him.
“I said okay. I switched cars with him. And the rest of that is history.”
Hairston says he wasn’t with Gordon when the DWI took place. The Hornets guard says he was in his hotel when he found out everything had happened.
Hairston said he doesn’t switch cars often. But Gordon asked, and, as Hairston explains it “I have a thing for saying ‘yes’.”
Gordon’s DWI came with a $500 bail. That was paid by Haydn “Fats” Thomas, the noted felon who was involved with Hairston during the basketball player’s time in Chapel Hill at UNC.
Hairston claims that Thomas loaned him the rental car in question, when Hairston was pulled over last year.
“I have a job now, so I can’t risk my job anymore,” Hairston added.
When asked if he’d stay away from Durham from now on, Hairston had this to say:
“Uh, definitely. I’ve got guys here that I can play ball with, so I don’t need to be anywhere else.”
Hairston faces an August 8th court date, stemming from his alleged scuffle with Barkley.
Gordon was pulled over for doing 50 mph in a 35 mph zone.
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