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Greetings, Bearers (and first time visitors),

So I guess the news has come out that Bobby Petrino is no longer with the Razorbacks.  Instead, he’s been sent packing, having been told to pick up his last paycheck before finding something else to do with his life.  Apparently, to add to the fact that he had his alleged mistress along for the motorcycle ride, he wasn’t completely forthcoming to his superiors after the event, which also gave Jeff Long cause to dismiss him.

I’m not a Razorback fan.  I appreciate the fact that under Petrino former Michigan QB Ryan Mallet was developed into a great offensive weapon, but beyond that I don’t have a lot of say one way or the other regarding this particular SEC team, so please understand that my motivation for expressing thoughts here isn’t from a pro or anti Arkansas position. 

It is, however, coming from a pro-character position.

Some are criticizing the fact that Petrino’s contract has a clause that, if I understand it correctly,  essentially permits the University to fire him for inappropriate character matters, even if those matters would be deemed private.  This, they say, is wrong because a man’s private life should not affect his public one (Those old enough to remember the Clinton/Lewinsky ordeal have heard this before). They believe that public and private activities should be divorced for the most part, and that one should not be used in judgment of the other.

My response to this: if Petrino hadn’t been fooling around, none of this would be an issue.

Just like with Joe Paterno and Jim Tressell, the issue of character has come to haunt coach Petrino, and whether or not one agrees that the consequences for these coaches were too strict (or not strict enough, as a few have voiced), the simple fact remains that if Petrino had not strayed from fidelity, the story would have been about the motorcycle accident (supposing it would have happened at all) and not the 25-year old Ms. Dorrell riding with him. 

It also brings to light our inborn suppression of our own guilt.  If we’re honest, when we do something wrong, we’re more apt to get defensive about it and find ways to justify it or tell the offended party to just “get over it,” rather than admit that we’ve sinned and that we deserve the consequences.  It’s pretty sad when people don’t feel much of a sense of shame about doing wrong, but instead spend more effort and time criticizing others for addressing it.  We either don’t admit we’re wrong, or we soften the blow with excuses (“Well, maybe, but YOU shouldn’t have…” and the like). 

Again, just some thoughts about the situation.  Feel free to send a comment my way!

See you in the Vein!

J. Dean

One Comment

  1. Couldn’t agree with you more. I think the imperative thing to remember here is Mr. Petrino is a “coach”. A coach for young men in college “careers” first and foremost. People tend to get overly passionate where sports are involved, but would anybody disagree with the circumstance if it was any other career and situation? Would you want your child’s high school guidance counselor to keep his job if you hopped on Google and found incriminating sexually deviant pictures? What someone does in the privacy of their own home is their own business, but when a character flaw becomes public record and it points to potential miscalculations in someone’s judgement, employers have the right to dissolve that relationship. And note I didn’t say moral or ethical judgement…though these items stand out to us and are more sensationalized in the media, at the end of the day it’s a matter of asking the question “can this person be trusted to do their job as good as anybody else without concern for poor judgement?”

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