Charlotte Hornets rookie P.J. Hairston claims a random encounter with Browns All-Pro wide receiver Josh Gordon at a grocery store in Chapel Hill, N.C., led to the two pro athletes swapping vehicles on the eve of Gordon being arrested and charged with driving while impaired in nearby Raleigh.
On Thursday, Hairston told the Charlotte Observer an unusual tale of how Gordon ended up driving his 2015 Cadillac Escalade.
"Me and Josh Gordon met at the Fresh Market," Hairston said, according to a transcript provided by the Hornets. "I was at the Aloft 1/8hotel3/8 right next door to the Fresh Market, and I walked there to get food and happened to run into him in there. I am a football fan, so I knew who he was. Right away, we started talking about football, basketball and we walked outside. He saw my car and asked me, 'What are you doing?'
"He asked if I minded if we switched cars and we exchanged numbers and he was going to drive my car that night and bring it back to me. ... He had never seen my car. My car is new. I liked his car. He had a Mercedes, so I said, 'OK. We will switch.' I was just being generous. I have a thing for being generous, and I didn't think that it was a big deal so we could switch. It's not like he would mess up my car if I had his car."
Gordon, who's facing a potential ban from the NFL of at least a year for reportedly testing positive for marijuana, had a blood-alcohol level of 0.09 when he was arrested early Saturday morning, according to a citation obtained by WNCN. He also admitted to having three drinks mixed with vodka, according to the citation, when he was pulled over for traveling 50 mph in a 35 mph. The legal limit for blood-alcohol level in North Carolina is 0.08.
Haydn "Fats" Thomas, a convicted felon from Durham, N.C., bailed Gordon out of jail. A former University of North Carolina basketball player, Hairston was ruled ineligible by the NCAA before the 2013 season after Thomas, who's serving a suspended sentence on drug and gun charges, let him borrow a rental car.
Hairston spoke as if he didn't know about Gordon's apparent ties to Thomas.
"Once I realized that he had connections with people that got me in trouble in the past," Hairston said, "I figured it would probably be a problem."
Like Gordon, Hairston got into trouble last weekend. He had an altercation with a high school basketball player Sunday at a Durham YMCA, and authorities issued a summons of assault and battery for him Monday, according to the Charlotte Observer.