Arkansas Razorbacks football coach Bobby Petrino was fired Tuesday night after admitting an “inappropriate” relationship with Jessica Dorrell, a recently-hired employee. As Matt Brooks reported:
Expectations in Fayetteville, Ark., were sky-high for the 2012 season. With a number of key players returning to a team that finished just behind Alabama and LSU in the Southeastern Conference and a coach committed to winning, the Arkansas Razorbacks had all the makings of a national title contender next fall.
They may still be a force in the SEC, but they must do it without the man who led them to this point.
As the story unfolded after Petrino crashed his motorcycle 10 days ago, the Razorback faithful came to their coach’s defense, rallying to show support and pleading with the administration to forgive and move forward. But in the end, Petrino accepted the fate he earned.
In an emotional media address Thursday, (athletic director) Long revealed the stunning depth of Petrino’s deception, slamming the 51-year-old married father of four for his decisions leading up to and after the accident.
“He made the decision, a conscious decision, to mislead the public on Tuesday, and in doing so negatively affected the reputation of the University of Arkansas and our football program,” Long said. “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.”
According to Long, Petrino’s relationship with the 25-year-old recent hire, Jessica Dorrell, lasted a “significant” amount of time, and at one point, Petrino gave her $20,000 out of his own pocket as a “gift.”
Dorrell, a former Razorbacks volleyball player, was hired by Petrino on March 28, only four days before both were involved in the motorcycle crash on a rural road outside of the city. Long said she was one of three finalists among a pool of 159 applicants, and was given the job in an unusually quick process. Dorrell, who reportedly called off an engagement one week before the accident, has hired a lawyer and could sue for sexual harassment. Under the school’s sexual harassment policy, even “consensual sexual relationships between faculty and their students or between supervisors and their employees in some instances may result in charges of sexual harassment.”
A state trooper who help Petrino get to the hospital after his crash and alerted him to a damning police report that was later released was placed on leave. As the Associated Press explained:
The state trooper assigned to protect Arkansas football coach Bobby Petrino said he took a call from an unidentified woman to come get the injured coach, then fielded a call from the coach’s wife as they were pulling into the hospital, according to a memo released Monday.
Arkansas State Police Capt. Lance King also said he called Petrino shortly before the police report that landed him in hot water was released to the public last week.
Petrino called athletic director Jeff Long about 20 minutes after receiving that phone call, and he was put on paid leave later that night. Petrino, a married 51-year-old father of four, failed to disclose he had been riding with a female employee half his age when his motorcycle skidded off the road on April 1.
The Arkansas State Police said King didn’t violate police policy or state law.
King said he called Petrino on April 1 to check on him after another trooper said Petrino’s motorcycle had been involved in an accident.
Some have attempted to compare Petrino’s scandal with the controversy that Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen found himself embroiled in after statements made about Fidel Castro. As AP explained:
Bobby Petrino and Ozzie Guillen both have a history of foolish behavior. That narcissistic lack of judgment finally caught up with them.
But the comparisons stop there. When the Scum-o-Meter is tallied, Petrino comes up the biggest loser in a faceoff against Guillen. That’s why if you had pick which one would lose his job — the Arkansas coach or the Miami Marlins manager — it wasn’t even close.
Guillen started a flippant lovefest with Fidel Castro while managing a baseball team that just happens to play in a city where the Cuban dictator is Public Enemy No. 1.
Petrino lied to those who employ him as a college football coach and supposed leader of young men after he crashed his motorcycle — specifically, the part about his mistress-slash-subordinate coming along for the ride.
He had to go.
Though Guillen made the “worst mistake” of his life, he is simply a motormouth, someone who lacks any discernible filter between the thoughts in his politically incorrect mind and the words that come spilling out. Sure, we understand the outrage in the Cuban-American community over the Marlins manager expressing his “love” and “respect” for Castro’s survival skills, but his major crime was a staggering lack of sensitivity.
“It was a personal mistake of the thing I had in my mind and what I said,” said Guillen, a native of Venezuela. “What I wanted to say in Spanish, I said in English in a wrong way.”
Petrino, on the other hand, could offer no such excuses.
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