I would like to be outraged by Bobby Petrino's recent behavior and his behavior at last night's press conference. I really would. I would like to write a scathing column about how he is in a leadership position at an institution of higher learning, and this kind of fiasco is unacceptable. It reflects poorly on him and the school. I really would like to write about that.
But no one would buy that. Being outraged by Bobby Petrino lying to people just shows that you haven't been paying attention. We don't get mad at clouds for bringing rain or cheetahs for eating gazelles. It's just the natural order of things.*
*Ed. Note: What I am outraged about is that I'm not writing an article on that baseball game last night. Holy crap! What a gift. There is no sane reason why Florida should not have tied the game in the ninth. No one is happier about than Grant Dozar, whose third error of the night almost led to LSU blowing a three-run lead. I like Dozar a lot, but he's lucky we are not talking about his passed ball from last night. He was bailed out by base-running incompetence, and then a much larger news story. So my favorite Tiger gets one hell of a mulligan. Apparently the sport gods like Dozar, too.
And Bobby Petrino is a liar. He's always been a liar, he always will be a liar. I didn't wake up today suddenly outraged that Petrino is a liar, I woke up today with yet another data point in his illustrious career of having only a passing familiarity with the truth. I'm not angry at the guy, just sad for Arkansas fans.
Pretty much the only people in the country today who are defending Petrino are Arkansas fans, and I get it. Winning is fun. It's why Kentucky fans defend Calipari. You tell yourself these stories to rationalize how everyone is out to get your coach, but really, you just like winning. And I'm okay with that. LSU fans of my age are pretty familiar with what it was like to follow a hapless program. It sucks. And if the guy who gets you out of the ditch is a little light on personal skill, what of it? It beats the hell out of losing.*
*Ed Note: Saban might be a prick, but he's nowhere near the ballpark of Petrino. Saban is only loveable if he wins, and luckily for him, he wins a lot. Petrino is a guy who doesn't just burn bridges, he napalms them. Even when Petrino wins, he is still less trustworthy than a Bond villain. Petrino is the guys Saban points to to show everybody that he's really not that bad of a guy... and he's right.
But this is ridiculous even by Petrino's lofty standards. Most coaches would have difficulty surviving a scandal in which it was revealed they were having an affair with a 25 year old. But double digit wins and a trips to the Sugar and Cotton Bowls buys a guy a long leash. A leash you run out of when you then hire said 25 year old to a position in the Athletic Department. That leash is then long gone when you then lie about it directly. And not even a good lie -- how on earth did Petrino think that the minor detail that someone else was on the bike wouldn't come out? It was an easily verifiable lie.
Hell, you shouldn't fire him for lying, you should fire him for lying so lazily. At least lie to us with the respect we deserve.
Petrino's on administrative leave, but there's only one way this ends. He is not going to be coaching at Arkansas next season, one way or another. He really is a great football coach, but he just can't help himself. Petrino's lack of character is eventually catching up to him, just like momma taught me it always does.
I wish I was surprised. I wish I could even enjoy this fall from grace. But I'm not and I don't. I just feel sad. Petrino is throwing away a promising career because he can't stop lying to people. Arkansas fans thought that this time was different. They told themselves that he had learned to fly straight and that those old stories were just told by bitter, jilted fans.
They were lying to themselves. They always knew it in the back of their hearts, but now they know. As long as there is an enabler, coaches will not change their behavior. Arkansas fans told themselves that they were different. They were wrong.