Mike Woodbury, the director of Florida prep school Nation Christian Academy, was caught on tape launching an invective-laced tirade against Marvens Petion, a basketball player who came over from Haiti at the age of 15, going so far as to imply he'd alter his transcripts and send the player back to Haiti.
Woodbury, who also serves as CEO of the Port St. Lucie school, had taken Petion into his home along with several other players. The following audio is a snippet from a conversation that Woodbury claims occurred on October 17 at his home and lasted 35 minutes. It was turned in by Petion's current coach at West Oaks:
“Just get out of my face," Woodbury is heard snarling on the tape. "Take your broke asses—I’ll say it again—your broke asses back to the garage. I don’t want to hear from you. The bottom line... get the fuck out. Just walk the fuck out. I don’t give a shit. I control transcripts. I control where you go next. It could be back to Haiti, motherfucker. That’s how easy it is for me.”
“Now I control everything,” he later added. “I just want you to really know that. I’m going to fuck you in your ass next time you’re out of line. I’m going to take everything from you. I’m going to end everything you’ve ever had.”
Petion told sports network Stadium the conversation was a result of him and another teammate coming across a "damaging conversation" between Woodbury and another woman that concerned him enough that he asked the head of the school, Liz Bell, for his release from the school.
“I’ve already had two schools close down on me,” said Petion, who previously attended a pair of prep schools in Kansas. “I was afraid this one would be shut down also, so I wanted to get out of there.”
In response, in the statement embedded below as well as in an interview with Stadium, Woodbury leveled a host of allegations again Petion, including that Petion attempted to extort school officials, all of which Petion denied. He has since transferred to West Oaks Academy, also in Florida.
Petion told Stadium he received his transcripts on Tuesday, and was shocked to see that his GPA was lowered to a 1.4, even though he had a B-average. Despite Woodbury's claims that he "control[s] the transcripts," and that he would "take everything" from Petion, Bell described the difference as an "error in calculation."
As the story began to gain traction Wednesday, Woodbury released a statement on Twitter—eschewing the screenshot of the Notes app maneuver for the classic Old Person Takes a Picture of Their Computer Screen move—apologizing for the language used, but stopped short of apologizing for the nature of the conversation. It seems he doubled down:
(Update: the Twitter account has since been protected, so here is the image of the statement contained in the tweet)
There are a lot of dots to connect in this story, which is probably due to A.) the shady nature of these prep schools in the first place, and B.) the he said/he said nature of the allegations being tossed around. But what we do have now is what Woodbury said, and it's pretty hard to characterize the conversation as making the student "aware that his criminal behavior would risk him being sent" back home when Woodbury made perfectly clear that he controlled everything. Especially seeing as how Woodbury—who, again, is the president of the school—says in the tape "I'm going to end everything you've ever had." Because that sounds pretty clearly like a threat.
Stadium followed up with Woodbury, asking him if he regretted anything about the exchange. “No. Fuck, no,” Woodbury said. “Yes and no. I regret the fact I tried to be a father figure. It hurts my heart.”