For the past 48 hours, I have been debating whether or not I should actually make this post. Then, after talking to a few people, they woke me up and made me realize that I actually had absolutely no choice. If I did not write this post, I would be going against what this site is all about: openness. I cover agents’ unethical actions when I am not involved, so when I am actually involved, I cannot keep the story out of sight. Here we go…
Over the past week, I have received many calls and messages from friends, colleagues, family, and clients, asking me who Jay Hairston (on the left, wearing the cap) is and why he was sending them “friend requests” on Facebook. Originally, I thought it was just a coincidence that I was the only “mutual friend” on these peoples friend lists. After the fifth call/message, I started to get curious.
On Monday evening, I decided to finally do something about it. I did a search for “Jay Hairston” on Facebook and was greeted with a profile picture displaying Athletes Premier International‘s logo. I also noticed that we had over 150 friends in common, yet Jay never friended me on Facebook. Did we just know a lot of the same people and had never met? Again, his friends included former roommates, fraternity brothers, and family of mine (who have less than 50 friends total on Facebook). Most concerning was that this guy I had never met nor heard of was sending friend requests to all of my clients.
Since I was not friends with Jay Hairston, I could not read his profile. I went to API’s website, and found that his name was completely omitted. This is where I started to get really concerned. I sent a few tweets to API’s twitter account, asking for an explanation. The only response I received was Jay Hairston changing his Facebook privacy settings to restrict me from finding him in a Facebook search results page.
I had one of my friends who had accepted Jay’s friendship request pull up his profile, and that friend let me know that Jay lists himself as the Vice President of Player Relations and Recruiting. At this point, I knew something very shady was going on. What business does a rival agency have in reaching out to my entire network? There is nothing illegal about making friend requests to people you have never met, but it sure does make you and your company look very shady.
This is an interesting and silly tactic for a brand new agency. Athletes Premier International has one baseball client, and it is a big one: Aroldis Chapman. First of all, I have given the agency no reason to solicit my friends, family, or clients. Second of all, the company has received good press thus far in its shopping of Chapman to various MLB teams, does it need to now resort to dirty tactics to grow further? Third, why is Jay Hairston not listed on the company’s website? And of all employees, I have most concern about a VP of Player Relations and Recruiting contacting my clients.
I reached out to Jay and he was nice enough to respond in a timely manner. Additionally, he was pleasant in his responses, but I think I was more upset that he was lying to my face than anything else. I would have been happier if he was blatantly honest and told me to go screw myself. Here is what he said to me in our conversation thread. Let me know if you think he is being genuine.
Mr Heitner. By no means am I attempting to do anything shady as you put it. I am simply networking! I do appologize if I offended you in anyway. This was not my intentions.
You are telling me the truth that you friended former roommates and fraternity brothers of mine in an effort to network? What value do they bring to the table?
What networking did you hope to do by friending my clients that I have listed on my agency’s website?
I am not out to hurt your company or anyone elses company. I am more than happy with representing the clients I currently have and using those gentlemen to provide solid referrals. I truly hope that you have no cruel intentions. I believe that most men are honest, and I will take you at your word, even though your actions (including preventing me from pulling your name up on a search) should lead me to believe otherwise.
I have documented everything thus far and encourage you to stay away from my friends and clients. You guys just picked up a superstar; I firmly believe that continuing to “network” with my friends and clients will not be worth your while.
I accept your apology and hope that we can put this entire matter behind us.
His last response was very nice, but I believe that it was entirely mocking the situation at hand.
Mr Heitner, as for friending former roommates and fraternity brothers of yours, yes it is random! I am NOT in the practice of stealing or attempting to steal anyones clients! Its not who I am as a person or who API is as a company. I am simply trying to get our name out there! That is all! In my expierience the more people that know who you are and what it is you do. The better off a business will be. As you know, people do talk. So whether that’s the gas attendant at your local gas station or an athlete at a university. You never know who will be the link to that next big client! Once again I do appologize for the simple misunderstanding!
You are simply trying to get your company’s name out to my friends, family, and clients? Create a blog, send out tweets, contact athletes that are not already represented, but solicit my friends list on Facebook? I doubt my step-father is going to be the link to your next big client. There is no misunderstanding about what transpired.
And as for Jay Hairston’s Facebook status as of yesterday, it read: “we must be doing something right…” I agree, if that something is “getting your name out there” in an unethical manner.
26 replies on “Aroldis Chapman’s Agency Up To Shady Business?”
Sweet jean shorts bro… is API sponsored by Janco?
P.S. – Hairston has begun to send invited to API’s Fan Page to all of my friends who accepted his friendship, figuring that he was someone close to me.
Jay is a shaddy dude,watch out for him.
Good move Darren. As you indicated, you will take the man at his word, but his actions indicated otherwise. Regardless of what his intentions were, he and API, are on notice. Not only with Dynasty but the rest of the agent community.
I definitely was friended also by Jay on facebook and I do not believe that I am even friends with Darren on facebook. This guy must be sending out massive friend requests.
Glad to see that you are aggressively pursuing this guy. He is on the verge of setting himself up for a tortious interference claim. You don’t have any damages as of yet as far as lost clientele, but that might be coming soon, although I sure hope it never reaches that point.
Similarly, I have also been blocked from accessing his profile or even viewing his name in a search. I do not know why that is but assume it is due to me also being an employee of Dynasty. I admit I find it quite interesting that if networking is the true goal, why not network with actual people within the industry, instead of blocking them off from all communication?
Whatever the case may be, I wish Jay Hairston the best with his career and hope he remains honest and ethical in his future pursuits.
I guess he never contacted me because my last name is Heitner. What a coincidence
Never trust a man who can’t respond to you with complete sentences. If I were a prospective client, I’d be wary of a company whose ‘face’ doesn’t have a proper grasp on grammar, usage and sentence structure.
This behavior is definitely out of line, not to mention painfully inept and obvious. I’ve heard other stuff about API’s shadiness, but I can’t figure out if it’s incompetence (ie. the guy can scarcely write legible sentences) or malicious tampering.
These guys are shady. Their publicist, Kevin Sniffen, is going around posting on blogs and even planting questions among media members without identifying his association with Chapman and this API agency.
Also, this has been making the rounds among agents recently: Chapman’s agent, Edwin Leonel Mejia, was publicly reprimanded by the Massachusetts Board of Bar Overseers for financial improprieties this year:
A lot of the early bashing of Mejia seemed to be little more than knee-jerk jealousy by other agents, but this API group seems to be exposing themselves as a shady operation from top to bottom.
Ha! I guess I was one of the few that researched him right when I got a request. Hmmm…starts with a D…ends with an E, and in the middle is OUCH!!!
Hmm… I read blogs on a similar topic, but i never visited your blog. I added it to favorites and i’ll be your constant reader.
This is why I come to this site. Great article.
Here’s an instance of Kevin Sniffen just happening to leave out his affiliation while talking about how Chapman is worth more than Strasburg and Contreras.
As an aspiring Baseball Sports Agent I think that his tactics in getting his company name out there was highly unorthodox and unprofessional. Being involved in Sports & Entertainment for the last five years I’m aware that this business is highly lucrative and most fresh ones that come in feel that they must rob, kill and steal to make it, which is not the case at all.
I think his initial intention was to TRY to sweep some contacts from you under the table, however since he unfortunately got pinched, lol, he realized it quickly and replied to your email with what seemed like respect and understanding of the situation.
Yes they’re getting some good press and PR for Chapman, but at the end of the day they’re new and most likely have a fear of getting lost in the crowd and losing their only jewel client.
I’d say regardless of his responses to you WATCH HIM CLOSELY.
Welcome to our industry!!! I find it funny that so many agents aren’t cordial to each other. When ever i’m around other agents I am always quick to introduce myself and wish them luck with their clients. There are always going to be agents who work in the grey areas, BEWARE!!!
Does Meija have a background in sports management, contract law? I have done some digging re: Hairston and cannot seem to find him anywhere. What’s his background? Anyone know? How did they end up landing Champan and not Boras or the usual suspects?
[…] pick up their play real soon, or I fear they will get knocked off before the close of the season. If you have not read this piece yet, go read it. It infuriates me that this type of stuff occurs in my industry. I thought to […]
I know Mejia and Travieso of API from a while and i know this guy Hairston is doing these without his word.
I’m not sure I understand your comment. Was it in support of Hairston’s actions or were you saying that he is acting without Mejia and Travieso’s permission?
Darren, yeah I have heard of viral marketing, although I would never recommend it, but to block you on face book clearly (and by that i mean logically and unfortunately not lawfully) denotes his guilt. At the same time Mr. Heitner by reading the transcript this man does not seem like the brightest bulb in the 40 watt pack. With a prospect like Chapman their main focus should be not on expanding (just yet) but it should be on providing the absolute best service possible to this mega-client because the referrals will just take care of themselves; of course all contingent on how they handle Mr. Chapman. The best of luck to you Mr Heitner: I truly admire your ethics, not only as an agent, but as a man.
Thanks a lot, David. And I agree on all of your points.
Nevermind this shady behavior, who allows their prized possession be photogrtaphed at clubs with girls in lingerie during the same time you are trying to negotiate a big dollar contract for Chapman. The teams interested with him I assume will take this behavior into consideration when making the offer. The link for the photos is http://www.bustedcoverage.com/?p=21764
I think this adds further questions as to the legitmacy of API if this is how they manage their clients. I am of course from NY and still hope we get Chapman regardless of these photos and indescritions.
[…] agent are waking up to the news that they might be in over their heads. After being called out on some shady tactics earlier in the week, Chapman’s agency is finding out that they may not have the best PR […]
This guys ( Jay Hairston ) is a little shaddy,his facebook page now is unavailable.