Two Tampa men have devoted their lives to helping young athletes stay in school and stay off the streets. But when the money they used to support those kids dried up, they did the only sensible thing....they started slinging coke.
Romey Battle and Michael T. Brown have spent years mentoring young men from the Tampa area. They helped kids with bad grades, legal problems, and family issues. They helped kids get part-time jobs and got college scouts to take notice of the best players, so that they could earn scholarships that would lift them out of the streets. The two men had numerous success stories—including Alabama's Javier Arenas, pictured—and eventually started a nonprofit called the Center for Urban Programs and Services.
Then the economy laid waste to everything and they had no money to help anymore. So they turned to the one industry that never loses money—cocaine dealing. Well, it almost never loses money. These guys weren't too good at it. Only weeks after they started their operation, cops busted them for trafficking, saying they seemed "inexperienced." They had been ripped off in an earlier deal, so they jacked up the price on the next one. Amateurs!
It does appear that these are good guys, who really did just want to help people. Before turning to dope smuggling, Battle paid out of his own pocket for water, food and t-shirts for about 175 kids at a football camp, when sponsors failed to deliver. And they didn't sell to any of the kids in their program, which is something, I guess. Maybe next time they can just start a ponzi scheme and then the government will bail them out.
Two Tampa men caught up in street crime they warned against [St. Petersburg Times]