Arkansas fans, like Petrino, should be ashamed of themselves

This is how the world works in Fayetteville, and maybe anywhere a coach wins. (AP photo)

This is how the world works in Fayetteville, and maybe anywhere a coach wins. (AP photos)

(Folks. In the wake of Bobby Petrino’s firing, an updated column will be coming shortly.)

The great thing about sports is it turns normal everyday people into idiots, and I mean that in a good way. Nowhere else in society can we find white collar, blue collar and no collar somewhat spiritually united at football tailgates, wearing the same goofy fan wear, sharing conspiracy theories that they read on message boards (so they must be true) and waiting for their turn to vent on sports blab radio (between meetings).

The worst thing about sports is it turns normal everyday people into idiots, and I mean that in the worst-possible, blithering way. Nowhere else can we find people, regardless of race, creed, religion, economic level or social standing, spontaneously lose all sense of rational thought or perspective.

We see it often when an athlete is embraced as a hero, a need, regardless of his disregard for laws, ethics or moral decency, simply because of his statistics and the team’s place in the standings.

We saw it this past year when fans, some of whom actually have jobs, degrees and everything, protested on the campus of Penn State in support of Joe Paterno, with no thought or regard for the children who are the subject of horrible sex-abuse allegations.

We see it again now. Over 21,000 Arkansas fans have joined a “Team Save Bobby Petrino” Facebook page. Some-200 fans showed up for a public protest to save the job of a man who for the better part of his career has proved to be a liar, a coward and morally bankrupt — all of which might matter if he went 7-6 instead of 11-2 last season.

There are times when humor is appropriate. This isn't one of them.

There are times humor is appropriate. This isn't one of them.

One carried a sign that read, “What’s wrong with scoring in the offseason?”

Another one read, “Define Innappropriate” (sic).

Another read: “Blond Hair. Don’t care. #FreeBobby” – and that one was held up by a woman.

“I’m not surprised by much anymore,” said Richard Lapchick, the director of the Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport at the University of Central Florida. “Our culture, particularly our sports culture, is so directed at winning that on campuses too many people overlook what appear to be egregious acts by coaches and athletes. Upon reflection, they might change their opinion. I think we saw that at Penn State when students protested right away, but after a while there was a more balanced assessment.”

Never mind sexual harrassment: Pig Sooie!

Never mind sexual harrassment: Pig Sooie!

Petrino’s acts aren’t surprising. He proved himself flawed and devoid of character long ago. He lied and ducked out the back door at previous jobs, most notably the Falcons, where he didn’t even complete the season. Players knew him as two-faced and cowardly. While they were preparing for a game, he was talking to Arkansas. When even the esteemed Warrick Dunn calls you “selfish” and “a liar,” you know you’ve done something wrong.

Arkansas athletic director Jeff Long amusingly is being cast as some upstanding guy in all this. Remember, he went behind owner Arthur Blank’s back to interview Petrino during the season while the coach was under contract. If it’s up to Long, Petrino stays. Why? Because he wins.

But it’s not that simple. This isn’t merely about adultery and a coach lying. If Petrino gets fired, it will be because he exposed a publicly funded university to sexual harassment lawsuits and significant financial damages. He admits to having an “inappropriate relationship” with a subordinate — who happens to be a 25-year-old blonde who’s engaged to another athletic department employee.

If nothing else, Long can turn this into a trashy beach novel.

But Arkansas fans don’t care about lawsuits. They don’t care about a betrayed wife and a broken family. They don’t care about an Arkansas assistant swim coach learning that his fiancee is having an “inappropriate relationship” with the football coach.

Maybe they would care if they were Petrino’s wife or one of his children. Or the mother of the swim team’s coach, Josh Morgan. Or the father of Petrino’s passenger, Jessica Dorrell — because that sure would make me want to knock down a certain football coach’s door.

Matt Couch, the Arkansas fan who organized Monday’s protest, played to his audience: “None of us are condoning what he did, but we know it’s Easter weekend, a time for forgiveness. And most importantly, we all want to win some football games, don’t we?”

The only thing that could’ve drawn a bigger cheer would’ve been if he crushed a Budweiser can on his forehead.

The fans’ mindset: Forget about morality. Forget what’s right or wrong. There’s the Alabama game to think about.

Pig, Sooie. Pathetic.

By Jeff Schultz

376 comments Add your comment

@DanWeiner

April 10th, 2012
3:24 pm

“Yer still just bitter coz CBP left the Falcons for the best job in college football! WOO PIG SOOIE!”

/Arkansas Fan’d

Chris Broussard

April 10th, 2012
3:24 pm

Finally, I agree with Jeff Scultz. I am stunned.

JP

April 10th, 2012
3:26 pm

I believe everybody has forgotten about Pitino and his situation. That was far worse than what Pertino did. Winning does not make everything fine, it only hides the offseason mistakes and makes everybody forget. I hate that Petrino was this dumb but you cannot hide the fact that the guy is a great college coach. Plus the financial hit the Univesity would take in letting him go would be big. You are talking about an $15 million buyout plus the fact that the guy has taken the program to new levels and he has already saved the program in operating costs.

Big Earl

April 10th, 2012
3:26 pm

Well said Jeff !!!

www

April 10th, 2012
3:26 pm

meh. why is this news?

SC Dawg

April 10th, 2012
3:26 pm

Typical Hog fans…win at any cost, regardless of the actions by their “Savior.”

gdawginkalamazoo

April 10th, 2012
3:28 pm

Hey Jeff, who won your golf pool? to get that out of the way.

Easter weekend practice forgiveness? I guess Arkansas will be settling the lawsuits next Easter. Just hug the Easter bunny and all is forgiven.

mike addington

April 10th, 2012
3:28 pm

Great column, Jeff, especially the first part, and I am particularly impressed that you know to put the commas and question marks inside the quotation marks. Don’t see that much anymore even among professionals. Painted a good picture of us CFB fans.

DIT

April 10th, 2012
3:28 pm

UNBELIEVABLE!!

Being a Christian I’m highly offended at that 1st picture. Yes, Jesus forgives, but there are consequences to our actions. These people really need to re-evaluate the entire situation.

Chris Broussard

April 10th, 2012
3:28 pm

People keep acting like Arkansas has won national titles or even SEC Titles under this sleaze bag.

JP

April 10th, 2012
3:29 pm

UGA has a reckless Defensive Coordinator. That guy should be taken out back and have his butt kicked by every coach he has called out.

Big Earl

April 10th, 2012
3:29 pm

@DanWiener …. appropriate last name dude. I can assure you that noone around here is bitter because that Jack A$$ left.

gdawginkalamazoo

April 10th, 2012
3:30 pm

JP, probably an ethics, moral, don’t cause embarrassment to the university clause like Damon Evans had in his. So the payout would not be as much as one might think. Termination with cause I believe.

@DanWeiner

April 10th, 2012
3:30 pm

Man, some people clearly do not get sarcasm or humor and really shouldn’t post on the internet.

Mountain Dawg

April 10th, 2012
3:31 pm

If Arkansas keeps Petrino, they are surely asking for it, because he WILL implode yet again.

jeremy nelson

April 10th, 2012
3:33 pm

if it was Saban….he would have got a pay raise. eat s**t

jeremy nelson

April 10th, 2012
3:33 pm

if it was Saban….it would have got a pay raise. eat s**t

Herschel Talker

April 10th, 2012
3:33 pm

Schultzie:

What a bunch of filthy animals. Just like a bunch of pigs.

HT

Matt

April 10th, 2012
3:34 pm

I could be wrong with some of these, but: Hasn’t Calipari been sketchy at his last two coaching jobs?? Yet he keeps getting them. Did anything even happen to Pitino when he was caught having an affair?? The article came out today about Urban Meyer; do you actually think anything will happen to him?? That he article will hurt his career in anyway???

There are too many double standards in sports. Pete Rose cheated as a manager yet is banned for his accomplishments as a player. Meanwhile how many steroid users will make it in someday? How many are still actively playing. Cheating is cheating.

You are right Mr. Shultz; as long as you win it doesn’t matter. Hell that hockey player for the Thrashers freaking killed someone!!!!!!!!!!!

Richard

April 10th, 2012
3:35 pm

“But Arkansas fans don’t care about lawsuits. They don’t care about a betrayed wife and a broken family. They don’t care about an Arkansas assistant swim coach learning that his fiancee is having an “inappropriate relationship” with the football coach.”

Jeff, why would they? They aren’t buying tickets or donating money based on any of that. Case in point, how many people are giving up their iPad now that Apple has been shown to be using slave labor?

GStateBen

April 10th, 2012
3:35 pm

Why not publish the real news? Forget about GSU JEFF??

The news that GEORGIA STATE UNIVERSITY IS NOW FBS!!!

It is now our time to rise up and take over this state!!

Dave

April 10th, 2012
3:35 pm

Completely Agree

Dawg Haus

April 10th, 2012
3:35 pm

Now the rest of the world can join Falcons fans in despising Pigtrino. What a joke all this is!

GStateBen

April 10th, 2012
3:36 pm

Auburn Man

April 10th, 2012
3:37 pm

Glad AU didn’t hire him.

George

April 10th, 2012
3:38 pm

Arkansas wouldn’t take a financial hit if there is a morals clause in Petrino’s contract.

Auburn Man

April 10th, 2012
3:38 pm

“But Arkansas fans don’t care about lawsuits. They don’t care about a betrayed wife and a broken family. They don’t care about an Arkansas assistant swim coach learning that his fiancee is having an “inappropriate relationship” with the football coach.”

They care about being fat and stupid.

gdawginkalamazoo

April 10th, 2012
3:38 pm

The fat guy holding the “What’s wrong with scoring in the offseason sign?” Is texting his wife who saw it on the local news “lol, I was talking about coach Bobby darling” “not me” ” no I wouldn’t do that” “never” “like who would score with me in the offseason anyway”

Auburn Man

April 10th, 2012
3:39 pm

“Typical Hog fans…win at any cost”

What have they won?

Old Dawg

April 10th, 2012
3:39 pm

Ever since the midnight ride by representatives of Auburn to Louisville I’ve considered Petrino the lowest form of pond scum. When he bolted from Atlanta to Arkansas, he become untreatable raw sewage.

Now he’s just a sad, laughable act that should be relegated to Comedy Central between 2 and 4 a.m.

It doesn’t matter where the coach or athlete plays, inappropriate actions are just that, inappropriate. And they should be treated as such.

Nice column, Jeff. Wonder how Jimmy Swaggart would handle Petrino’s sins?

Haggardlab

April 10th, 2012
3:42 pm

When did Arkansas, which only owns a split national title in 1964, become such a great job. It’s about the 4th best job in its own division. Good grief, these fans look really bad.

falconfan58

April 10th, 2012
3:43 pm

This is the guy you parents are trusting with your sons. It must really be a great feeling when the coach tells a player that they must have character and loyalty to the team and the university. How in the hell can Patrino accuse and player of not giving his all to the team and the school. The lesson here, as taught by Patrino, is take the money, get the girl and screw ethical behavior. What a two faced ass.

Wrecker

April 10th, 2012
3:44 pm

This could not have happened to a nicer guy. /sarcasm off

gary morris

April 10th, 2012
3:44 pm

I agree with most everything in the article, except the caption under the photo that says “Never mind sexual harassment: Pig Sooie!” What does the CBP situation have to do with sexual harassment? If anything, she got her job because of sex, not because of her sex.

wade

April 10th, 2012
3:44 pm

Hearing columnists who cover the SEC lament the “win at all cost mentality” is comical. This a league is about wins and losses, period. Nice coaches in the SEC become unemployed TV analysts—which Mark Richt was about a game from becoming despite his impeccable character.

JP

April 10th, 2012
3:45 pm

Auburn Man, Have fun this season with that joke of a coach. Now that Gus is gone, we will see how that offense does. Enjoy Van Crustache as well, that guy couldnt coach a defesne to save his dirty mustahce.

iTiSi

April 10th, 2012
3:49 pm

Don’t forget, these people in AR have the mindset and morals of one ex-President Mr. Bill Clinton. That should explain most of it. I posted a comment on an AR newspaper website saying “I thought AR was better than Pennsylvania, but guess not”. I was highly chastised, as several basically said this was not as bad as what happened at Penn State because it involved young boys. Therefore it should be forgiven and overlooked. I answered back that I was unaware that there were differing degrees of wrongdoing when it came to moral and ethics. I don’t believe the “judge of all judges” grades from A to F. They should ask Mrs. Petrino or the girl’s fiancee if they think this is not as egregious as what happened at Penn State.

Jay Jay

April 10th, 2012
3:49 pm

Despite the recent success of CBP at UA, the fact that he apparently was having an affair with someone that he directly hired less than a week before this revelation and lied to the administration to cover up that fact, the AD has no other option than to force him to resign or fire him this week. The longer that they wait, only makes this situation worse and if he is not terminated will cause legal problems for the University, which will further tarnish UA..

Big Crimson 75

April 10th, 2012
3:49 pm

The Nutt Cracker got better results @ Arky than Evil Kenevil.
Petrino can’t beat Bama & He can’t beat LSU.

daddo

April 10th, 2012
3:50 pm

U don’t fire winners in the SEC. Period. Pretend to take some money from him and let him get back to winning.

lanier

April 10th, 2012
3:51 pm

im origionally from Memphis and those Ark Rednecks are morons the way they have always carried on. its because the football team is the only thing and I mean only thing they have to look forward too.
these people are worse than Ala fans

Chi Town

April 10th, 2012
3:52 pm

Lord Saban will take care of him….

GeoffDawg

April 10th, 2012
3:52 pm

JP, he violated university policy and exposed them to extreme financial liability. If they fire him, his buy-out is almost certainly voided. Remember how Texas Tech denied paying the severance package to Mike Leach?

iTiSi

April 10th, 2012
3:53 pm

By the way, great article Schultzie! Nice to see an AJC sports guy tell it like it really is. Now if one of you “turkeys” would just do the same with the Braves, and stop being “homerboys”.

PMC

April 10th, 2012
3:53 pm

It’s not really about Arkansas, it’s about our entire culture.

Football coaches may well be the most morally bankrupt people on the planet. Why? Because of this ridiculousness.

Oh yes forgive. Forgive me a freaking break.

Bobby Petrino is among the worst examples of humanity whatsoever.

Look at how he treats the closest people too him (he just crapped all over his wife and family) and then put him in a position of authority…. really?

GTBob

April 10th, 2012
3:54 pm

Good article. Between this, watching UGA fans after the Damon Evans debacle, watching Penn St fans after the Paterno debacle, and watching Ohio St fans after the Tressel debacle, it is becoming pretty clear that a lot of college football fans would sell their souls for a few more wins. It’s pretty sick.

DawginLex

April 10th, 2012
3:54 pm

Anyone defending this douchebag is an equal douchebag

B

April 10th, 2012
3:54 pm

But why didn’t you write the same thing to all the uga fans who stuck up for damon after he was caught doing worse!!! You’re a joke Schultz.

UGA 11

April 10th, 2012
3:54 pm

This is outstanding.

Jeff Schultz

April 10th, 2012
3:55 pm

Gdawginkalamazoo — Happy to say that I had Bubba Watson (my 2nd or 3rd pick) in the Masters pool so I won it. Mike Mills had Louis Osso-who-cha-me-giggy. He finished 2nd.