When Selling Your Jersey Goes Wrong

September 20, 2010 – 9:40 am by timgunter

Only in America can a collegiate athlete sell his own jersey and get suspended for it.  As is the case with UGA star wide receiver AJ Green, who violated an NCAA rule by selling his jersey for $1,000 to a memorabilia collector and was suspended the first four games of the season.  Sure, Green violated the NCAA rule by selling his game-worn ’09 Independence Bowl jersey, but he didn’t do anything the school doesn’t do.  Only in America can a governing body, such as the NCAA, profit off of young athletes and make it illegal for the athletes themselves to profit off their own success.  The NCAA doesn’t want players selling their jerseys because that creates competition, and without competition they have what we would call, a monopoly.  The person deemed responsible for buying Green’s jersey is former UNC cornerback, Chris Hawkins, but the NCAA smells something fishy with him.

Hawkins says he is not an agent, but the NCAA has no problem labeling him as one.  The NCAA claims that Hawkins has also contacted sports agents about their interest in UNC players and arranged trips for players to meet with agents.  According to sources, some UNC players told NCAA investigators that Hawkins, in fact, arranged for them to meet with at least two agents, Peter Schaffer of All Pro Sports & Entertainment and Kevin Conner of Universal Sports Management in Atlanta.  The parallel there is that Hawkins is great friends with former UNC star, Willie Parker, and other multiple NFL players that are represented by either Schaffer or Connor, but Hawkins continues to vehemently deny any involvement with the agents.  The bigger issue with the NCAA is that Hawkins was arrested last year in Georgia on felony charges of trafficking cocaine and misdemeanor charges of marijuana.  For all the NCAA knows, he could be taking these athletes to parties and giving them drugs, but that isn’t what Green was suspended for.  All he did was sell his jersey one time, something the school does tens of thousands of times, so what’s wrong with that?  Only in America…

Chris Hawkins joined WQXI in Atlanta to talk about whether he can explain who he is because the NCAA is claiming that he isn’t who he says he is, whether he has ever gotten in contact with a player and put them in contact with an agent, and whether he is going to be a part of UGA’s NCAA appeals process.

Whether he has had some angry people reach out to him via Facebook:

“Yeah I get a lot of Facebook messages, a lot of Facebook threats.  There has been a lot of heat coming my way over something, the jersey and what happened to AJ Green.  Just have been taking it all in.”

Whether he can explain who he is because the NCAA is claiming that he isn’t who he says he is:

“The NCAA thinks that I am an agent, which I am not.  I am not an agent.  I have never worked for an agent, never been paid by one.  I am simply just a kid.  Just like everybody else, I like AJ’s game.  I like how he plays the game.  I like football, so I played the game myself and I just wanted his jersey.  I talked to him about it and bought the jersey from him and didn’t think that much of it until he started to get investigated over the Miami trip.  I don’t think he has even been to Miami but I guess once they investigated him on the Miami trip.  See I have got a 305 number, as you could see now I have got a 305 number so I think they kind of thought that I had something to do with the whole Miami trip going on down there and they kind of went at him hard for that and I guess he let them know how he knew me and what he did.  I think he was totally honest with them.  I talked to him, totally honest, and I told him that I bought the jersey from him and all of that.  To be honest, I think he probably should have talked to some people before he went about doing that.  I think they kind of, I guess maybe told him that he could pay the money back.  I don’t think he was really expecting to get hit for 4 games.”

Whether he has ever gotten in contact with a player and put them in contact with an agent:

“No, I have never done that.  The whole AJ Green thing was totally different.  I collect, I have got a lot of jerseys in the basement.  I put them on the walls.  If I like players and I like someone I will get their stuff and I’ll get in and put my stuff and just hang it on the wall.  The AJ Green thing was more bragging.  I think he is going to be a great player.  I think he is going to be a great player at the next level.”

Whether he has talked to the NCAA about who he is:

“Yeah I spoke with the NCAA numerous times.  The whole thing with the AJ Green thing they tried to put it out that I wouldn’t contact them on it.  I went out to the University of North Carolina and spoke with the NCAA on behalf of the whole UNC guys.  I played at UNC, I had a relationship with those guys and they try to make it seem those guys are coming to me for advice and hanging out with me that I was standing with agents.  All it was is the guys they really look up me over there at Carolina, they look up to me a lot.  They knew that  I was around the game and that I knew a lot about it.  I work with my friend, Willie Parker, who is a professional athlete, and did a little with agentsand sutff like that.  I am more like a manager to him.  I knew a lot about the game and I knew a lot about the agent game because I have been through that.  The whole AJ Green thing I think it was totally different.  The NCAA contacted me on it and put a report out there saying that I wouldn’t talk to them.  I spoke with the NCAA guy, I think his name is Chance Miller.  When he called me from the University of Georgia he was with the University of Georgia’s lawyer, at the time when he called me I was busy.  I was doing something.  I told them that I would call them back and we set up a time to call back and when he gave me an extension, he gave me an extension to call back on, I called back the extension 5 times and it was the wrong extension.  It didn’t work.  Once he talked to me he called me the next day and I was like, ‘You, you gave me the wrong extension number.’  And he was like, ‘Yeah, yeah.  My fault, my fault.’  It went from there and he set up another time, I think it was like a Monday at 3 o’clock or something like that.  He gave me another time for a conference call and that time I was busy.  I don’t work for the NCAA.  I don’t work for those guys.  I’ll speak to them when I can if I am available but I just don’t drop everything I do.  I try my best to help those guys out.”

Whether he is going to be a part of UGA’s NCAA appeals process:

“No, I don’t know if I am a part of it.  Nobody has contacted me.  I would do anything that I could do to try to help out…”

How often he has spoken to AJ Green and when the last time he spoke with him was:

“We really never contacted each other like that.  I might have talked to him maybe about 4 times, you know?  and I never talked to him about…”

Whether he was talking to AJ Green about his game and that he is a fan:

“That was it.  Basically I know a couple of people that he knows.  I know a couple of girls he knows and the only thing that I have ever talked to him about was, after I got the jersey, I didn’t talk to him about anything about football.”

Chris Hawkins joined Mayhem in the AM on 790 The Zone in Atlanta

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