“Pride goeth before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.”
-- Proverbs 16:18
The country witnessed something last week rarely seen in the world of really, really big time sport, much less in the football rabid Southeastern Athletic Conference. A winning coach, Bobby Petrino, who was thought to have the best team in the SEC next season, was fired. While we all know the circumstances of his career’s demise after an inappropriate relationship came to light -- seemingly at the hand of God -- after a motorcycle mishap. Petrino’s life and future was on the skids long before the Harley left the highway.
Petrino’s boss -- we bet you didn’t think big time football coaches in the SEC had bosses -- Athletic Director Jeff Long said in a news conference that Patrino, “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. 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.”
The cynic in many of us thought this affair would be brushed aside by the university, after all, in the words of legendary coach Vince Lombardi, “Winning isn’t everything. It’s the only thing,” always comes to the fore. But looking aside for the sake of winning didn’t happen this time and should be a lesson to other coaches who believe they are gods and to the young supposedly “student athletes” in their charge. However, this lesson has been taught since the beginning of time and still, like Icarus, some don’t believe the wax on their wings will melt.
-- Charles E. Richardson, for the Editorial Board