North Carolina head coach Roy Williams spoke publicly Monday afternoon about the ongoing situation involving Tar Heels player P.J. Hairston. Hairston was arrested last month and is in the middle of a developing story involving a felon, car rentals and drug use.
Last week, North Carolina president Bubba Cunningham issued a statement about the Hairston situation. In it, Cunningham said that he and Williams were still gathering information about the incident(s) and discipline would be addressed once that process was finished and culpability was determined. Williams said he would not be addressing the case publicly before it was resolved.
Well, that changed today. And suffice it to say, with the statement he issued, Roy is not happy.
"P.J. and I have had several discussions already and he knows he has made serious mistakes and there will be serious consequences as a result. Certainly the idea of suspending P.J. has been discussed. However, he is not currently enrolled in summer school, is not practicing with the team and we have no games until November. There are several options available in terms of discipline, but we are going to wait until the process is complete to decide on those options.
"Other issues have been written about recently that are disturbing and bother me deeply. Our basketball program is based on great ideals, and these issues are embarrassing. These are not common in my 10 years as head coach at UNC, and they will all be dealt with harshly and appropriately at the correct time to ensure that our program will not be compromised.
"We will care about each individual, but there will be serious actions taken that will fix these issues. I take pride in our values and how we have conducted ourselves for a long time here at Carolina, and this time will pass, but it will be dealt with strongly.
"We are talking about a program that has been a model of success on and off the court, and it will be again. I want to thank our fans for their patience, understanding and support."
Hairston is a key returnee for a North Carolina team that looks to be trending upward in terms of returning to the top level of national contention. Depending on how the case continues to evolve (and ultimately is resolved), though, Williams may not have much choice in the matter in terms of eventual punishment. Given the tenor of Williams' comments today, though, this is already headed in a disappointing direction for Hairston, as Williams is somewhat painting himself into a corner in terms of level of discipline. North Carolina fans need to hope things don't get considerably worse from here. If they do, we may not be taking about a mere suspension. We could be discussing what Hairston's absence means for the season.