The situation involving Bobby Petrino is not about sports. Some people are trying to make it about sports, and those people, in my opinion, are embarrassing themselves.
Monday night, a group calling themselves “Team Petrino” held a rally on the campus of the University of Arkansas in support of the coach keeping his job. One of the organizers had this to say: “We want to forgive, forget, and win!”
And just like that, the Petrinos’ devastated marriage, the deep hurt and embarrassment of their four children and countless others, the presumably-postponed or canceled wedding of the woman in question and her fiancé and all the people that has affected, the trust and faith the U of A athletic department had placed in Petrino that is now shattered, the disappointment of Hogs fans who uphold high moral standards in their own personal and professional lives… all of that has been brushed aside in the name of having a winning team. And if you don’t agree with these people, you are being judgmental. You are a hypocrite, because we all make mistakes. And, worst of all, you are not a true Hogs fan.
This is one reason I have avoided getting swept up in sports fandom of any kind. People can get so caught up in it that they place their team on a pedestal that looms high over basic human decency.
Someone sees Jerry Sandusky in the shower with a child. Proper measures to address that are not taken because of that pedestal. Petrino hires a woman we now know he was having an inappropriate relationship with, and then lies about her to his superiors. People rally to defend him. Because of that pedestal.
Here’s another interesting bit from the ESPN report of this story:
“Another Arkansas fan, Jimmie Wilson, and her husband, Steve, drove an hour from Fort Smith, Ark., to attend the rally and support Petrino. Jimmie Wilson said she didn't feel bad for Dorrell, saying ‘I haven't heard her story, but she made a choice.’”
So Jessica Dorrell made a choice, and she can go to hell while we worship the guy she made that choice with. Really? Are we back in the land of The Scarlet Letter? She made a choice, while Petrino made a mistake. I realize I already said this, but… really?
No, I’m not a Hogs fan or any kind of college football fan at all. Maybe that’s why it’s so easy for me to write this. I just think that if any opinions you’ve expressed on the Petrino situation contain “WPS!”, you’re missing the core issues.