We are talking SEC football, so to quote a great Alabama football player named Forest Gump, “Stupid is as stupid does.”
The tale of Bobby Petrino should serve as a reminder to all of us how quickly we can wreck our own lives by making bad choices, and compounding those decisions by lying.
I argued yesterday the thought of firing Petrino over his infidelities was crossing a line I wasn’t sure we should cross. Mixing business and pleasure into the same pot opens up a lot of doors that could lead to people being fired all over the country. Allowing for our morals to dictate someone’s job status isn’t fair.
I also said in the end, Arkansas will have the make the final decision on whether this incident would have a negative impact on Razorbacks football. Would it cost them donor money? Attendance money? Would recruits not come to the school? Those would be the questions that would and should be asked.
Of course there was one more. Can we trust Bobby Petrino? The short answer: no.
Athletic Director Jeff Long rightfully was angered not so much by the inappropriate relationship Petrino and Jessica Dorrell had, but by the coach using his power to hire Dorrell. “Coach Petrino abused his authority when over the past few weeks he made a staff decision and personal choices that benefited himself and jeopardized the integrity of the football program,” Long said.
AD Jeff Long said Petrino had the last 10 days to come clean, and continued to lie. He continued, “He made the decision, a conscious decision, to mislead the public on Tuesday, and in doing so negatively and adversely affected the reputation of the University of Arkansas and our football program,” Long said, choking up at one point as he discussed telling players that their coach was gone. “In short, coach Petrino engaged in a pattern of misleading and manipulative behavior designed to deceive me and members of the athletic staff, both before and after the motorcycle accident.”
Winning and making money can cover for a lot of sins. It’s an understandable reality in most lines of work. You can step on some toes. You can make some mistakes. But making too many or to the wrong person, like your boss, can be the final straw. Repeatedly being lied to is one of the most emotionally devastating things any of us can go through. We can probably all speak from experience. Jeff Long, had a lot of reasons to keep coach Petrino, but that was the reason he got fired.
It’s a shame. Such a brilliant offensive football mind, but he couldn’t figure out the easiest question that little voice in our heads always asks: Right or wrong?