Originally posted on isportsweb.com  |  Last updated 10/7/13
My esteemed colleague here at ISPORTSWEB, Femi Zaccheus, did a post about a letter outlining someone’s resignation over head coach Roy Williams’ handling of the P.J. Hairston situation. In it he brought up many great points. Before I give you my side, here is the letter that stirred a lot of controversy in web boards and social media outlets having to do with UNC Basketball… Roy, After 23 years as an academic tutor, and after going through the devastating football scandal, I am resigning in protest of your disgraceful decision to allow P.J. Hairston to remain on the team. If I were arrested driving with no license, illegal drugs and a gun in a felon’s car, my employment at this University would end immediately. Hairston’s DTH headline quote was, “I will play this season.” Since when does the criminal decide his fate? Jack Halperin Athletic academic tutor First of all, I believe in this… if you are part of something that you think is wrong leaving it is not going to fix it, so resigning from the job does exactly what? In my opinion nothing. If you think there is something wrong with the system fight to make it right. You might not win, but winning is not what it’s about, it’s about believing in something and doing the right thing. I feel this letter is a bit like the line in the movie GI Jane, where Debbie Moore says “I am not here to make a statement” and just by saying that she was. People that want to make a difference are not here to be heard for the most part, they are the ones that will make a difference, period. And if not, will have tried their hardest to do so. Secondly, if you work for many of the major companies that have unions, and you say “I have a drug or alcohol problem”, or if you fail a drug test, they will not fire you. They will send you for help, sending you to detox places, using the 12 step programs. They will give you not one, but several chances, in some cases… they will try to help you. While the Hairston story is different than the scenario I just said, it’s not like this does not happen in the real world as well. I am not condoning usage of drugs, drinking on the job, speeding with a car, etc. etc., but we do live in a country and society that is forgiving. Thirdly… while for this gentleman maybe the Hairston case is the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back, I find it somewhat hard to understand how you can have put up with the years of the football scandal, which included an array of people and not just players, and yet not be able to deal with this single individual case. But, most important for me, was this done for the improvement of a young man who made mistakes, not one, but many in judgement while in college (stop me anytime if you never heard of a young man in college making mistakes) or is it for the improvement of the basketball team? Roy Williams has always praised two people, his mentors, for his career, first his high school coach and then Dean Smith. And when you speak about the latter one thing always comes to mind, how he treated his players as people, way beyond the basketball court and way after they were done in college. And I am sure if you could talk to anyone about Roy Williams I truly believe he does the same. How many of his ex players were there when he was inducted into the Hall of Fame? And not just from North Carolina, but from Kansas as well. Most of the fan base does not know these young men, some might know them in passing, some even have them as friends or class mates. Some, like this man who has decided to give up his job, might know them more than others. But the coaching staff know them a lot more than anyone else. They become a family, they bond, they learn one another. This is a basketball team, small and compact, and not a football team, where there numbers make it hard to be as tight knit. And in being so close I think someone like the head coach has a lot more to go on when making a choice on whether or not he should keep a player. Unlike most everyone else the coaches do not just go by what is said in the papers or the web, not just what they hear or are told. But hours and hours of time with the player, on and off the court. Maybe what this Academic tutor should think about this. With the past years having been clouded by not the most perfect of times at UNC it would have been the easy thing to let Hairston go. To pound out that “we do the right thing by releasing him” and move on. But people that care do not always do the easy thing, they do the things that are right. And if coach Williams believes that it is right for P.J. to stay on the squad that’s good enough for me. And while I might be bias on this, I believe it should be right for all, cause in the end if this was the right move all will forget what happened, and cheer for Hairston… and if not, only one person will take the brunt from it.

This article first appeared on isportsweb.com and was syndicated with permission.

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