SUV renter denies ties to UNC, defends arrested athletes

PJ Hairston (Photo courtesy of UNC)
July 2, 2013 9:00:00 PM PDT
The mystery man who rented a luxury SUV driven by UNC basketball star PJ Hairston when he was arrested on drug charges, has now been identified as Haydn Patrick "Fats" Thomas.

In an interview with ABC 11, Thomas said he has no ties to the UNC basketball program, sports agents, or PJ Hairston. Thomas also denied renting cars for any athletes, explaining that the SUV Hairston was driving was a rental car given to his friend Mykael Faulcon to use.

"He wanted to go to the store. He was going to drop some friends off or something," Thomas said.

Faulcon, Carlos Sanford, and Hairston were all arrested last month in East Durham at a license checkpoint. They were charged with misdemeanor marijuana possession. Hairston is also charged with driving without a license.

A 9mm handgun was also found on the ground near where the trio was arrested. Forensic fingerprint testing is being done by the Durham Police, and a spokesperson told ABC 11 results are not yet complete.

"I know they stopped before the road block and they [had] a discussion amongst themselves. And then, all of the sudden they get in trouble. The police said PJ was driving and I'm like, 'Mykael, how are you going to let some dude drive a car you took from me?'" Thomas explained. He added, "Everything from that point when they got stopped by police - only those three guys know."

Thomas said he believes the gun does not belong to any of the three players saying, "From what I understand, they didn't have any guns or anything like that."

UNC has remained quiet on the arrest of Hairston, saying they are "gathering all of the facts" and would release a statement at a later date.

Thomas told ABC 11 he has never been contacted by NCAA investigators and reiterates, "I've never rented a vehicle for an athlete. Why would I rent a vehicle for an athlete?"

Thomas does admit partying with former UNC athletes, but never giving any "inappropriate benefits". Thomas said he is not a UNC season ticketholder, in fact he claims he's not even a Carolina fan.

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