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Man who rented car North Carolina player was driving says no improper benefit provided

DURHAM, N.C. (AP) — The Durham man who rented the car that North Carolina basketball player P.J. Hairston was driving on the night of June drug arrest says he didn’t provide improper benefits to Hairston. In a recent interview with The Associated Press, Haydn Patrick “Fats” Thomas said he rented the 2013 GMC Yukon from the June 5 arrest at a license checkpoint in Durham. He also confirmed details reported by WTVD of Durham, including that he loaned the car to friend Miykael Faulcon — one of the two passengers in the vehicle who were arrested along with Hairston.

Hairston, Faulcon and Carlos Sanford were each charged with possession of less than one-half ounce of marijuana and released on $1,000 unsecured bonds. Faulcon and Sanford are both from Durham.

“Let me just tell you one thing: there’s no story,” Thomas said of Hairston. “There’s no story here. The basketball player, he’s not accepting gifts. There’s no story.”

“If this was a real problem, you think the NCAA would’ve been at my door faster than (reporters)?” Thomas said.

UNC officials have said they’re gathering information before making any statements or decisions on Hairston’s status. They haven’t commented further on the case.

Athletic director Bubba Cunningham said last month the school is also investigating whether NBA agent Rodney Blackstock has improper ties to Hairston or any other UNC athlete. That began shortly after USA Today reported in May that AAU coach Darius Cobb said he received $10,000 from Blackstock to steer former Kansas guard Ben McLemore to him as a client.

Blackstock and Hairston are both from Greensboro.

Thomas faces drug charges as well as a charge of possession of a firearm by a felon from a December arrest. WTVD also reported this week that Thomas said he had partied with former UNC athletes but denied providing any improper benefits.

USA Today reported that Thomas was charged $1,261.64 for renting the vehicle, according to a rental receipt. Thomas denied knowing Hairston in an interview with the newspaper.

Officers also seized a 9mm handgun and ammunition during the stop, with Durham police spokeswoman Kammie Michael saying the pistol was found on the ground outside the rental vehicle during the search. Police haven’t linked the gun to Hairston or his passengers.

All three are scheduled for an August court hearing.

Hairston, a 6-foot-5 1/2 swingman, announced in April he would return to Chapel Hill for his junior season instead of entering the NBA draft. He led the team in scoring at 14.6 points per game.

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  1. LindaS

    Never anything improper happening in NC when those two schools, fartolina and puke are involved. If you believe that, I have some swamp land to sell you.

  2. Anonymous

    Hey! Come on…it’s not unusual for a car to be pulled over where there are guns laying around on the ground in NC–anyone with any sense knows that they grow like watermelons down there. Hell, every decent person with any sanity knows a kid needs a ride during the summer time too…get with it!

  3. Gene T.

    There are just too many fishy things happening at N Carolina. There is something going on for sure, just how much remains to be seen. It has gotten too much attention the NCAA can’t turn their head, or can they. They always do for Puke and Carolina’s.

  4. Anonymous

    Seeing plenty of writers using “unc” in referring to that institution of fraud…the glove fits! They lock step right in there with the United States Congress, Wall Street, NCAA, and Rome’s Laundry Service…all respected institutions! The only thing missing is a “hot tub”.

  5. Cat1

    It’s UNC, just as with everything else involving this school, nothing is going to happen. These incidents just provide a little material for sports writers to talk about for a week, then they die down. Nothing going to happen.

  6. BleedBlue

    UNC has a protective shield around it and that magic wand, so what do you think is going to come out of any negative press? Zero

  7. Anonymous

    Sports Illustrated. com has as one of it’s lead stories, the “uproar” taking place at UK over the renovation of Rupp Arena while not a single word about the second car rental violation by unc’s P.J. Hairston. The S.I. article is yellow journalism at its best…you couldn’t find a better example!

  8. TheProfessor

    Has Hairston been suspended by Roy Williams? by the UNC Athletic Director? What ever happened to the idea that acting in a manner that creates an appearance of impropriety is wrongful conduct, even if not illegal.

  9. Phillip Barker

    It would appear that the basketball expression, “the Carolina Way” will have to be phased out, since it is now synonymous with educational fraud and sports cheating…kind of like the SEC football stigma of, “if you ain’t cheatin, you ain’t tryin”.

  10. Karen Sprinkle

    Professor, Roy is waiting for the court system to decide what he should do. Or something like that. Wouldn’t want to rush to judgment or anything like that, for dadgum sake.

    A more interesting development is that Hairston reportedly received a speeding ticket several weeks before the above incident. He was driving a 2012 Camaro rented by a woman who is living at the same address as Haydn Thomas, the individual who lent the car in the above case. Obviously, as Thomas said, there’s no story here at all. Move along, nothing to see here. HA!

    This case is getting some media attention nationally. Whether or not that forces the NCAA and North Carolina to launch a real investigation or not, who knows?

  11. Larry T Clemons

    Whats really upsetting is all the Ink,(Press) and TV time they gave Boogie,(Cousins) for a short temper, OMG !!!….But, they let UNC slide with Criminal Mischief, at the least and Felony Charges & more at the worst….Thank You Coach Calipari, for the TYPE of Young Men we Recruit….And, we’ll take another Boogie Every Year.

  12. Lindas

    Amen, Larry T! Amen! Our guys even go to classes with professors and other students in an enclosed class room. They even have to go to study halls with tutors!

  13. King Ghidora

    “If this was a real problem, you think the NCAA would’ve been at my door faster than (reporters)?” Thomas said.

    I laughed myself silly when I read this comment. I guess he missed that whole fake class scandal. The NCAA investigated the UNC football team in regards to that whole fiasco and gave them a slamming penalty as a result. But the basketball team? When it was found out they were involved too the NCAA decided the conference and the school were responsible for academic issues. Gee I wonder why the football team didn’t get the same ruling??????????

    As for UNC doing anything about stuff that makes the program look bad all I can say is their entire history says they won’t do a thing about it. Insist the other team is calling you racist names in a NCAA tournament game – so what. That didn’t embarass the program at all? No punishment.

  14. Anonymous

    Can hardly wait for the annual Duke/unc game…it will be like viewing a wedding where the bride wears all white and is noticeably pregnant. This will be really “special” Dicky V!

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