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NBA rookie charged with assault and battery

Competition brings out the best, and sometimes the worst, in people. You would be surprised at how many violent crimes are committed during, or after, sporting events. 

Former North Carolina star basketball player and current Charlotte Hornet, P.J. Hairston, must appear in Durham County Court on misdemeanor charges of assault and battery following an altercation during a pickup basketball game. The Durham County Sheriff's Office issued him a summons, but will not be arrested. Hairston's court date is Aug. 8.

"If two people get into a fight in North Carolina and there is no serious injury and is not witnessed by an officer, our hands are tied," a spokesman for the office said. "We don't charge people in un-witnessed fistfights. They have to file a report with the magistrate office."

What makes this more than just your normal, run of the mill, "basketball" is the person that Hairston allegedly assaulted. Kentrell Barkley, senior at Northern Durham High School, says in court documents that Hairston "punched him twice in the head" during the basketball game which was played at a YMCA.

"We were playing open gym and I was running up the court and he hit me in the forehead with his fist," the 17-year-old said. "I walked up to him and asked him what happened, and then he hit me again in the neck."

Now this has become a battle of two sides of the truth.

"The pickup game got heated, the kid swung at P.J. and P.J. swung back," said Hairston's agent. "P.J. did not go out and beat up a little kid like some people want to make it out to be."

Hairston issued an apology to the Hornets organization and fans for "creating this distraction" and for "any embarrassment that I have caused."

While Hairston might not be punished too harshly in North Carolina, if you are charged with assault and battery in Florida you could be in serious trouble. Worst case scenario for an assault charge in Florida, since it's classified as only a second degree misdemeanor, would be a potential sentence of 60 days in jail and fines reaching $500. Of course, your defense lawyer can help you avoid jail time with the possibility of some court ordered anger management courses. 

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