PJ Hairston: I am Truly Sorry for Any Embarrassment I Caused
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - As TV news cameras rolled, Charlotte Hornets rookie PJ Hairston was quiet at a previously scheduled event Monday. Earlier in the day, Hairston tweeted "Believe none of what you hear and half of what you see," Twelve words many are interpreting to be commentary about his alleged altercation with a teen over the weekend.
Officially, Hairston says, “I want to apologize to the Hornets organization and our fans for creating this distraction. As this is now a legal matter, I cannot comment on the situation any further. I am truly sorry for any embarrassment that I have caused.”
The Hornets are aware of the charges 21-year-old Hairston faces and won't comment until the legal process ends. Those charges include assault and battery stemming from an altercation with 17-year-old Kentrell Barkley at the Durham YMCA on Sunday. Y security cameras allegedly recorded the entire incident. Those recordings are in the hands of law enforcement.
Barkley's coach told WCCB what those recordings will show. Rick Phillips says Hairston and Barkley played pick-up basketball at the YMCA for a couple hours. Hairston allegedly said Barkley "can't go (dribble) right." Barkley replied, "I did go right." Hairston then allegedly dribbled up to Barkley and punched him. Hairston then turned, stepped away, turned back and punched Barkley again.
Phillips calls Barkley a good kid with an aversion to violence, saying, "He is literally afraid of firecrackers going off because he's heard so many gunshots." Phillips says Barkley took the first punch and didn't retaliate; just asked Hairston why he hit him.
NBA player Brendan Haywood knows Hairston and as a Hornet (a trade to Cleveland Cavaliers is in the works), he knows the organization. Haywood says, "Michael Jordan isn't the type that's gonna put up with a lot of foolishness. And neither is Coach (Steve) Clifford. This isn't gonna be an 'endless opportunity' type of situation, but I think this is his Mulligan. This is his free pass, and from now on, there'll be some stiff repercussions and consequences."
The teen's coach wants Hairston to apologize. Hairston's agent says the teen was playing overly aggressive basketball, which led to a shoving match, and that he took the first swing at Hairston. Hairston will answer to the charges in court in August.