The Charlotte Hornets reverted back to their own name, made the playoffs last season after years of futility and drafted the right guys last June. Everything is heading the right direction and all does not need right now is another distraction. Rookie P.J. Hairston provided that in just a couple of days after becoming a part of the organization.
Hairston is facing misdemeanor charges of assault and battery following an incident last Sunday during a pickup basketball game. He is scheduled to appear before the Durham Country Sheriff's Office next month to refute the said charges.
The legal battle being faced by the 21-year-old guard stems from the complaint of Kentrell Berkley, 6-foot-, 17-year old senior at North Durham HighSchool who claims that Hairston "punchedhim twice in the head" during a competitive basketball game that got out of hand. Berkley's legal guardian Rich Phillips also told the media that his ward had a visible knot in the forehead while claiming to be also punched in the neck.
Paul Sherwin, the public information officer for the Durham County Sheriff's Office however said that Hairston will not be arrested but will be required to attend the August 8 court date. The Charlotte Hornets organization was aware of the incident and has already made internal arrangements to resolve the issue.
Hairston practiced with the team Monday and issued a statement through the team stating his regret and apologies to both the fans and the Hornets for creating a "distraction."
''As this is now a legal matter, I cannot comment on the situation any further,'' Hairston said per Yahoo! Sports. ''I am truly sorry for any embarrassment that I have caused.''
The said altercation which was witnessed by Phillip's son, Vince, started when the Hornets rookie got visibly annoyed after his team has lost a string of games to Berkley's team. He stated that Hairston was dribbling down court when he threw a punch at Berkley before driving to the rim. The said incident caused a melee and the two players were separated before Berkley could retaliate.
The 6-foot-6 Hairston is the 26th overall pick in last month's NBA draft and suited up last season for the Texas Legends of the NBA Development League.