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Hairston's agent not certified, rookie contract in jeopardy

Posted July 11

PJ Hairston introduced as the newest member of the Charlotte Hornets

— Charlotte Hornets guard PJ Hairston’s agent, Juan Morrow, may not be an agent at all, and that could have implications for Hairston’s ability to sign his rookie contract with the team.

Morrow, who spoke up in defense of Hairston after the former UNC guard was accused of punching a Durham prep basketball prospect during a pickup game, emphasizes his relationship with Hairston on the website client list and even automated Twitter feed of the company he claims to have founded in 2011, Upside Media Group. Hairston is apparently the only UMG client, and his likeness, name and current NBA team feature prominently in UMG marketing.

Morrow’s bio page on the UMG site on Thursday noted him as a “Certified NBPA Agent.” On Friday, that had changed to “Marketing Agent.”

Multiple calls and emails from WRAL to Morrow, his office and his legal counsel have gone unreturned.

Also of concern is that neither Morrow nor UMG are registered to practice as agents in North Carolina, Illinois or Florida. UMG lists Miami as a permanent address, but the website claims the company has offices in both Miami and Chicago.

Morrow and UMG are also missing from the official list of certified agents approved by the National Basketball Player’s Association (the NBA players’ union), according to multiple sources including the Sporting News.

NBA rules dictate that in order for Hairston to negotiate with the Hornets, his representatives must be certified. The process requires an application approval, a background check and an annual fee. If a team negotiates with an agent they know is not certified, the team can be subject to a $50,000 fine, per league rules.

Any contract signed by a player who is represented by an uncertified agent can be voided.

Hairston has yet to sign his rookie contract with the Hornets where he is slated to make about $2 million over two years as the 26th pick in the 2014 NBA Draft. He is currently with the team in Las Vegas as they begin their summer-league workouts.

A spokesperson for the Charlotte Hornets said Friday the team had no comment on the situation.

Hairston, who was ruled ineligible at UNC in December for multiple NCAA infractions, including accepting rental cars from known felon Haydn “Fats” Thomas, tweeted out in January, “My dream stands in front of me, Next stop Chi town!” He later Tweeted about signing with Morrow and UMG, saying he found his “new home.”

The signing, captured in a photo on the UMG website, took place in Chicago before Hairston headed to Frisco, Texas, where he played for the NBA Developmental League’s Texas Legends.

Hairston’s familiarity with off-court troubles extends back more than a year.
• May 13, 2013: PJ Hairston is pulled over for speeding in a Chevrolet Camaro. The address on the rental traces back to convicted felon and party promoter Haydn "Fats" Thomas, of Durham.
• June 5, 2013: Hairston is stopped at a Durham checkpoint in a silver Youkon rented by Thomas. Hairston is arrested and charged with misdemeanor marijuana possession and driving without a license. Those charges were dismissed after Hairston produced a valid license and completed a drug assessment program.
• July 28, 2013: Hairston is cited for speeding and careless and reckless driving on I-85 near Salisbury, NC. The car he is driving is registered to Randi Lee Furr from Charlotte.
• July 29, 2013: Hairston is suspended indefinitely from the UNC basketball team.
• Dec. 20, 2013: UNC announces they will not seek to reinstate Hairston from his suspension and announce he is no longer enrolled at the school.
• July 5, 2014: Cleveland Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon is pulled over driving Hairston’s 2015 Cadillac SUV. Gordon is arrested for DWI and is later bonded out by Thomas.
• July 6, 2014: Hairston is involved in an altercation with a 17-year-old at a Durham YMCA. The youth, identified as Northern Durham High School’s Kentrell Barkley alleges Hairston punched him.

49 Comments

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  • GunnyGoesArrrgh Jul 15, 6:27 a.m.

    Fats plays a prominent part in the standard narrative of many news stories and in discussions... View More

    — Posted by unc70

    Wow - had no idea Willingham's husband owned Solas. Do you think Fats will eventually be brought down by the investigations conducted by the SoS? Sure looks like a tangled web with Fats at the center of much of it.

  • TTSCP Jul 15, 1:14 a.m.

    Is that a poppy on pj playa$ lapel?

  • 903 Born To Be Hated Dying To Be Jul 14, 9:20 p.m.

    Yes, Mary Willingham's husband and his partner own Solas. Hibernian, and many more! The press... View More

    Oh my. Very interesting, indeed.

    — Posted by Two Out of Three UNC

    why's it interesting? because Willingham's husband owns a club that likes to take the money UNC players and their felon friends make on their drug dealings?

  • Two Out of Three UNC Jul 14, 9:09 p.m.

    Yes, Mary Willingham's husband and his partner own Solas. Hibernian, and many more! The press... View More

    Oh my. Very interesting, indeed.

  • asjdiw Jul 14, 7:59 p.m.

    What's on his lapel? Is it poisonous?

  • Itsmyopinion67 Jul 14, 1:39 p.m.

    PJ...what a tool.

  • unc70 Jul 13, 3:34 p.m.

    Fats plays a prominent part in the standard narrative of many news stories and in discussions like this one. He links the UNC athletes, the corrupt donors, and the shadowy figures in Durham tm who provide the benefits -- drugs, cars, money, parties, ... and entree to exclusive club scenes in Las Vegas, Miami, Chicago, LA. There is considerable evidence to support that narrative, it seems more a diversion.

    Consider that much of the recent news happened in Raleigh but still reported as a UNC story with Fats Thomas prominent, using again the pictures of Fats with UNC players, the best known taken in Raleigh at Solas.

    Apropriate since the owners of Solas, Naill Hanley & Chuck Willingham, want the feel of Vegas in Glenwood South.

    http://m.bizjournals.com/triangle/stories/2007/05/21/story5.html?r=full

    Yes, Mary Willingham's husband and his partner own Solas. Hibernian, and many more! The press never reports, and someone spends considerable effort keeping it out of search results.

  • unc70 Jul 13, 7:00 a.m.

    Nothing but trouble in the future with this guy. Drop him like a hot rock.

    — Posted by gopack54

    Hairston needs to get out of Durham and not go back. Then, he needs to get up with someone who... View More

    — Posted by Smokin

    Don't blame it on Durham...we know how to participate in college sports and play by the rules.

    — Posted by DurhamDevil

    You also know how to hide behind the fact that the freedom of information act can't touch a... View More

    — Posted by heelsforever

    I expect that by now the investigation of sports agents by the NC SoS has found probable cause to examine the phone, email, financial records of nearly every agent, athlete, financial advisor, ... with a NC nexus. Remember that agents are licensed as individuals, not by firm. Similar to law and real estate. Even a firm headed by a Duke grad licensed in NC could be subpoenaed with probable cause being evidence that one employee had acted as an agent in NC without the required NC license;

  • GunnyGoesArrrgh Jul 12, 9:00 p.m.

    I keep hearing and reading Hairston needs to mature. Grow up, some have said. I posted last... View More

    — Posted by iamcousinbooger

    Well to say he is a box of rocks is insulting to rocks. How he maintained any kind of GPA...... View More

    — Posted by Riddickfield

    You may be right about the Fats connection to the so-called agent. PJ probably never checked to see if the agent was certified.

  • ACC EXPERT Jul 12, 5:39 p.m.

    is this for real-cheez you would think he would something right-- did he make the deans list over at the hill

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