(Updated with link to ESPN story and video below)
So of the least-enviable jobs tasks imaginable, where would “Bobby Petrino-image repair rank”? North of Barry Bonds (post-[alleged]-steroid use) but south of BP (post-oil spill)?
Petrino has agreed to/orchestrated his first television interview since a somewhat comical motorcycle crash and face plant exposed his affair with an Arkansas subordinate and submarined both his career and his personal life. (Not his reputation. That already was a wreck.)
Petrino recently sat down with ESPN’s Joe Schad. The interview will air sometime tonight during the 6 p.m. Sportscenter. Maybe the Falcons for a chuckle to loosen up before their exhibition game against Baltimore. It totally should be on the big screen at the Georgia Dome.
According to Schad, Petrino appears both “remorseful” and “apologetic.” Both emotions would, of course, qualify as precedent-setting.
The funniest description I’ve seen of this interview came from the blog site Arkansasexpats, which wrote, “This is arguably the most anticipated interview in Arkansas history since Barbara Walters scored the first sit-down with Monica Lewinsky in 1999.”
Bobby Petrino. Monica Lewinsky. Perfect.
(Update: Here’s a link to ESPN’s story on the interview. A video excerpt is below. One of the money quotes: “Instead of standing on the sideline with [Arkansas players], I’m going to be sitting on the living room couch, watching them. And I just can’t believe I screwed up so bad.”)
“I’ll be a better coach because this happened, because I’ll coach the person and not just the player,” Petrino said in the interview, according to SB Nation. “I have a better understanding of what life is really about. Put your energy into people that love you and count on you.”
Sounds great. He should put that on a plaque.
Petrino has not spoken publicly since his firing but his temp replacement John L. Smith said at SEC media days that the two spoke last month.
Here’s the reality: Petrino knows his reputation has been soiled. No NFL team would touch him. At this point you wonder what major college program would touch him. He has a reputation for job-hopping, lying, manipulating and leaving wreckage in the rear-view mirror.
With the Falcons, he showed himself to be a coward. What happened at Arkansas was even worse because his affair with an underling exposed a public university to considerable damages (not to mention what the scandal did to the players).
Petrino won’t be speaking to you tonight. Nothing personal, but he really doesn’t care about you. He will be speaking to college presidents and athletic directors, whom he will try to convince that he is a changed man. (Or a man at all.)
But we judge people by actions, not words, and there are lot of actions to overcome. A TV interview doesn’t qualify as a cleansing.
Some previous blogs on my favorite guy, Bobby Petrino
By Jeff Schultz