Headline Sports Agents

The Chapman Information Embargo Has Been Slightly Lifted

Immediately after I reported on the tweets sent out on Edwin Mejia’s Twitter account, many of the controversial tweets were deleted.  Mejia is the CEO of Athletes Premier International, a brand new sports agency that sprouted up overnight, once Aroldis Chapman defected from the Cuban National Team and selected Mejia as his representative.  Mejia not only deleted the tweets that were made with bad taste, but has calmed down the regularity that he sends messages through the social medium.  I do applaud him for his new Twitter strategy.

I am sure that Mejia and co. have been extremely busy giving Chapman everything he wants and more.  The worst thing that could happen to API would be a scenario where Chapman makes a second defection, away from his first American sports agency.  I am not saying it will happen, but the idea has certainly run through Mejia’s mind at least once in his sleep.  It looks like Mejia is doing a good job so far, though.  Chapman is training in Spain, getting some nice API branded dry fit shirts, and was recently featured on an ESPN Outside The Lines Segment.  For your convenience, the OTL piece is embedded below.

One thing I would have really liked to learn more about is how exactly Mejia and API landed Chapman.  Who was the reference, how did it go down, did Chapman get pitched by any other agencies, etc?

By Darren Heitner

Darren Heitner created Sports Agent Blog as a New Year's Resolution on December 31, 2005. Originally titled, "I Want To Be A Sports Agent," the website was founded with the intention of causing Heitner to learn more about the profession that he wanted to join, meet reputable individuals in the space and force himself to stay on top of the latest news and trends.

Heitner now runs Heitner Legal, P.L.L.C., which is a law firm with many practice areas, including sports law and contract law. Heitner has represented numerous athletes and sports agents as legal counsel. He has also served as an Adjunct Professor at Indiana University Bloomington from 2011-2014, where he created and taught a course titled, Sport Agency Management, which included subjects ranging from NCAA regulations to athlete agent certification and the rules governing the profession. Heitner serves as an Adjunct Professor at the University of Florida Levin College of Law, where he teaches a Sports Law class that includes case law surrounding athlete agents and the NCAA rules.

8 replies on “The Chapman Information Embargo Has Been Slightly Lifted”

Chapman made a big mistake by signing mejia who doesnt have the resources to get chapman's legal issues done, there is a n article about it on the newherald where a lot of pros are questioning mejia's tactics and another mistake was taking him to spain where he is illegally and could be sent back to cuba, jesus what a disaster chapman should've have signed with a real pro, and there have also been rumor that chapman is not happy with them and they are watching him very closely kind of like he is abducted or something, i recommend anyone to read about it.

The Nuevo Herald article is pure speculation and filled with assumptions and inaccuracies that are based on statements from anonymous and unattributed pros and "officials." If Aroldis has his passport how is he in Spain illegally? His passport was checked as he crossed the border like anyone else. That statement that he could be arrested and sent back to Cuba is like telling your child that the bogeyman will get them if they get out of bed in the middle of the night. They're trying to scare someone who has lived under communist rule all of his life and doesn't know any differently.

Just because Mejia is new on the scene doesn't mean he doesn't have the resources or know how to properly service Chapman's needs. Fact is no one really knows what his backing is, the depth of his resources But if he has the wherewithal to hire people to help train Aroldis, house him in Barcelona for the past month and hire security and a PR agency I think his resources are deeper than people realize.

Sure Mejia has not negotiated a MLB contract before, but every agent has their first and Aroldis will be his. Don't assume he won't get a good deal for him.

It wouldn't surprise me if the people spreading these false rumors and assumptions are other agents who are upset they won't be negotiating the multi-million contract that Aroldis will likely attract.

At this point, Chapman's passport means little or nothing. Not only is Chapman in Spain illegally, he's in the E.U. illegally, because (as the "El Nuevo Herald" reported) Chapman's visa has expired. If this info is true, it means Chapman could be deported if he's discovered by Spanish Immigration or has any sort of run-in with police. (Remember, Spain has a socialist government, and close ties to Cuba.)

Undoubtedly, some of the bashing of Edwin Leonel Mejia is coming from jealous agents, but large parts of the "El Nuevo Herald" article were correct. Mejia's decision to put his high-profile illegal immigrant client on TV, and to allow ESPN to disclose his client's living and training locations, was not only amateurish, it was incredibly reckless.

Every agent has a first client, but it's obvious Edwin Mejia doesn't know much about Cubans or have a solid grip on Chapman's situation. Anything is possible with money, so if Mejia has deep-pocketed investors — as he claims on his web site — then he might be able to get a deal done for Chapman despite his obvious shortcomings. But that doesn't change the fact that Edwin Mejia was, and remains, a dubious choice of representative for a high-value player like Aroldis Chapman.

Like the Herald article you make assumptions or statements with no basis of fact or examples to support your claims.

We don't know Chapman's present visa status so the article is speculating that if its illegal he could be arrested and deported. That's true in any country. However, with his passport Chapman can not only enter the country legally, but re-apply for a new visa IF the old one has since expired.

Having his passport allows him to also immediately apply for residency where past Cuban defectors have had to re-apply for their passports from Cuba in order to start the process. That's why it takes upwards of a year in order for them to sign a free agent contract with a MLB club.

Calling large parts of the article correct is a stretch since they are nothing but assumptions or statements from unsupported or anonymous sources. Jorge Arangure of ESPN confirmed that Mejia is certified with MLB/MLBPA. Plus it is the writer's and your opinion that putting him on ESPN is amateurish and wreckless. How so? Who says they are still living in Barcelona at this point? ESPN gave them substantial coverage that will only help Aroldis when he enters the free agent market. I'm sure Mejia was fielding a lot of calls from media, but by doing the ESPN interview it probably cooled them off for a while. Wouldn't it have been more amateurish and wreckless for him to take Arodlis to the DR where he would have been harassed by other agents, handlers, scouts, media and fans? At least in Spain or Europe he's living and training in relative peace. Saying he was kidnapped or being held against his will is borderline libelous and likely why it comes from an anonymous source. If this were so then doing an interview on ESPN would have been wreckless.

You claim its obvious Mejia does know much about Cubans or have a solid grip on the situation, but you don't give any examples. We only know what has been reported by ESPN and I saw and read nothing that supports those claims. What's been reported in the Herald and on blogs is speculation and unsubstantiated.

What we know for sure is that Mejia is a young inexperienced agent with a hot client on his hands and until Aroldis signs a MLB contract we can't say whether selecting him as his agent is a dubious or good choice. I choose to wait and see rather than slander a guy we know so little about.

Wow, long reply. I guess I struck a nerve.

First, I know a reporter who confirmed from other members of the Cuban delegation from the World Port Tournament that the visas for that event have expired. That means Chapman's visa has expired, which means he's in Spain — and in the E.U. in general — illegally. End of story.

Second, you appear to know very little about immigration law. Once a person's visa has expired and the person is found to have illegally remained in a country/area after the visa's expiration, most countries require the person to leave. For example, under U.S. law, it's impossible to extend an expired visa. Instead, the person must return to his country of origin and apply there for an extension. This same requirement is true in almost every country on earth, as a means of enforcing visa rules. Otherwise, people wouldn't think twice about overstaying visas for as long as they want.

Third, Chapman did not "enter" Spain with his passport, as you keep saying. There haven't been border controls in the E.U. for years. Anyone can hop on the highway in France and zoom into Spain, and vice versa. It's not like traveling between the U.S. and Mexico (or Canada).

Fourth, Edwin Mejia is not certified with MLB at all — there's no such thing — and from what I've heard, he's only been PROVISIONALLY certified by the MLBPA. (Provisional certification is a temporary status the MLBPA sometimes grants to agents who don't have any major-league clients but do have a free agent client(s) who might sign a major-league (40-man) contract.)

Fifth, do you really need me to explain to you how it was reckless for Mejia to put an ILLEGAL IMMIGRANT on TV while living in Spain? Spain has a socialist government, and close ties to Cuba. Do the math.

Sixth, the notion that being on ESPN will help Chapman sign an MLB contract borders on dumb. For baseball fans, it was great, but for Chapman, all it did was show a somewhat immature kid who sleeps until noon, smokes cigarettes, and ditched his family. How did it help Chapman to put him on ESPN pining for his family, who he likely won't see for years? You think that helps his MLB value?

Lastly, re: Edwin Leonel Mejia, it's obvious he has no clue what he's doing. If Edwin Mejia was so confident of his knowledge and abilities, why is he hiding from the media? Why is he hiding behind a P.R. firm, which is unheard of in MLB? Why did Edwin Mejia put an illegal immigrant on national TV when the client was living in a country with a socialist government that has close ties to Cuba? And if Chapman voluntarily chose to be with Mejia and wants to be with Mejia, then why is Mejia so afraid of "other agents" "harassing" Chapman in the D.R. or elsewhere, to the point of Mejia hiring a "security guard" to shadow Chapman 24/7? Doesn't it seem odd that Edwin Leonel Mejia has placed Aroldis Chapman under tighter security than did communist Cuba? I find that quite interesting, myself.

I just ran across this old thread again. It’s now been 10 weeks since Chapman defected in Spain. In early August, Chapman’s agent, Edwin Leonel Mejia, promised “news about Chapman’s residency soon,” but another 4 weeks have elapsed with no news. I wonder if “Optimistic” (see above) still describes himself that way.

Comments are closed.