Opinions on the morality of Bobby Petrino

Bobby Petrino and Jessica Dorrell

Bobby Petrino and Jessica Dorrell

I have read a lot of opinions throughout the USA on the morality of Bobby Petrino and I wanted to share with you some of their thoughts:

1. Columbus Ledger Enquirer

2. Marissa Levy at Fordham Law

3. Curmudgeon’s Attic

4. Vanderbilt Law School

  •  Share

During the Clinton scandals of the 1990s, we heard a relentless refrain from the big media outlets – personal behavior and character do not really count in job performance.  They beat the drum that Clinton’s all-too-evident personal failings did not affect his ability to do his job well.  I call that nonsense.

I remember a young pastor I knew who was being touted as “the next Chuck Swindoll” – a great pastor, great preacher, with a growing church and unlimited potential for the future.  All of that was true right up until he appeared on the evening news for all the wrong reasons.  His public and promising ministry was completely undermined by a chink the armor of his character than allowed the enemy’s arrows to pierce him.

Character matters.

This week, we had another extremely public piece of evidence in this sad debate.  Bobby Petrino was forced out as the coach of the Arkansas Razorbacks football program.  It had nothing to do with his job performance.  That cannot have been any better.  He took a struggling program and moved them to the head of the class.  Next season was supposed to be their best, with a lot of returning players.  Petrino is an excellent football coach.

Then, poof, it all went away.  He was in a motorcycle accident.  He claimed he was by himself.  Not so much.  He was with a 25-year-old former volleyball player with whom he had been conducting an affair (Petrino is married with four children) for some time.  His girlfriend had recently landed a cherry job within the football program and it was discovered that Petrino had used his influence in that hiring.

That is what cost him his job.  Not adultery.  Not lying.  Not cheating.  He lost his job because he used his influence to hire the young lady.

But that is what people need to remember.  These things don’t happen in a vacuum.  Character drives behavior. Petrino has never been known as a paragon of honesty and virtue.  An ESPN article by Mark Schlabach details his history of playing free and loose with the truth.

  • In 2003, which coaching Louisville, he met secretly with Auburn about replacing their coach, Tommy Tuberville.  He denied it until the press produced records that proved the meeting took place.  He then admitted he made a “mistake.”
  • In 2007, as coach of the Atlanta Falcons, he assured his owner he wasn’t going anywhere, but would fulfill his contract.  A couple of days later, he resigned immediately to become head coach at Arkansas.  His word was not his bond.

From this article, it was generally known that Bobby Petrino was not a man who tied himself too tightly to the truth or to his word.  This tendency evidently bore fruit in this illicit relationship, the lying to the school, the manipulation of her job search and the eventual disintegration of his professional standing.

It is not a secret that I am no big SEC fan, and I could be accused of piling on here.  That is not my intent.  I like poor ol’ Doug Hibbard a lot and I know that he is hurting.  This is a sad tragedy and any Christian who gloated over something like this would  be sinning against God.

But I would like to make one point.

People act in accordance with their character.  That is why character matters most.

The idea that we can compartmentalize our character and do a good job professionally while our character is misshapen is fiction, a myth like the phoenix or unicorns.  You character flaws are going to find their way into your behavior in every part of your life.  A man who will cheat on his wife will cut corners in other areas as well.  A cheater will cheat.  A liar will lie.  Our character shapes our actions.

If anyone other than Bobby Petrino can be assigned blame here, it might be the university administration who ignored his character flaws when it benefited them.  That choice came back to bite them.  Did they think that occupying an office in Fayetteville would suddenly transform him?  Soul transformation only happens through Christ.


  1. At some point, people are going to have to realize that character flaws cause significant behavioral issues that will come to evidence eventually.  We cannot compartmentalize character.
  2. There is another lie that is often told in the world.  ”You are what you are and that is okay.”  Nonsense.  You are what you are, but every character quality that destroys our inner life and our outer behavior can be transformed by Christ so that we are conformed to the image of Christ.  God doesn’t just change our behavior, he transforms us from the inside out so that we become different people – new in Christ.  To deny that is to denigrate the gospel.

Okay, have your say.

In this undated image released by the University of Arkansas, Razorback Foundation assistant director Jessica Dorrell is shown. Dorrell was a passenger of Arkansas football coach Bobby Petrino during a weekend motorcycle ride that ended with a crash that sent him to the hospital, according to a police report released Thursday, April 5, 2012. (AP Photo/University of Arkansas, Wesley Hitt)

Related posts:

Opinions on the morality of Bobby Petrino April 14, 2012 – 1:43 pm


Bobby Petrino’s phone records come out April 12, 2012 – 6:50 am

Jessica Dorrell and Bobby Petrino on ESPN together in 2011 April 12, 2012 – 6:38 am


How about a coach swap? :Charlie Strong to Arkansas and Bobby Petrino to Louisville April 11, 2012 – 7:37 am


Bobby Petrino statement April 11, 2012 – 6:51 am


Bobby Petrino fired, but now seeking forgiveness April 11, 2012 – 6:20 am


Video and transcript of Jeff Long’s press conference announcing firing of Bobby Petrino April 11, 2012 – 5:53 am


Bobby Petrino’s arrogance led to his downfall April 10, 2012 – 3:46 pm



Petrino 911 Call – Jessica Dorrell And Bobby Petrino Refuse Help April 9, 2012 – 7:03 am


Earlier concerns about Petrino’s character are coming back up again April 9, 2012 – 6:24 am


Bobby Petrino has achieved the American Dream, but still is looking for something more April 8, 2012 – 1:46 pm

Rex Nelson speculates that Petrino may be fired because “…trust has been so broken…” April 8, 2012 – 12:06 pm

Lying about Jessica Dorrell may get Bobby Petrino in a lot of trouble April 7, 2012 – 1:38 pm

Can Bobby Petrino, Tom Brady and Coldplay all find the satisfaction they are seeking? April 6, 2012 – 2:15 pm 

Bobby Petrino to survive this wreck? April 6, 2012 – 11:08 am

Pictures of Bobby Petrino April 6, 2012 – 9:11 am

Who is Jessica Dorrell? (with pictures) April 6, 2012 – 9:06 am

Major coverage of Bobby Petrino mistake April 6, 2012 – 6:51 am

What will be Jeff Long’s decision on Bobby Petrino? April 6, 2012 – 5:36 am

Bobby Petrino admits to an affair April 6, 2012 – 4:41 am

What impact will breaking trust with Bobby Petrino’s family have? April 6, 2012 – 4:24 am

Two choices now for Bobby Petrino: Follow the path of purity or impurity

If Bobby thinks he is bruised now, then he needs to read about the guy in Proverbs 7:10-27 and what happened to him. I really am hoping that Bobby Petrino can put his marriage back together. He has a clear choice between two paths. In the sermon at Fellowship Bible Church at July 24, 2011, […]

Jessica Dorrell was taking a long ride with Bobby Petrino April 5, 2012 – 4:52 pm

Bobby Petrino hurt in wreck (picture included) April 2, 2012 – 9:31 am

Adrian Rogers’ sermon on Clinton in 98 applies to Newt in 2012

It pays to remember history. Today I am going to go through some of it and give an outline and quotes from the great Southern Baptist leader Adrian Rogers (1931-2005). Max Brantley of the Arkansas Times started this morning off with some comedy: From pro golfer John Daly’s Twitter account following last night’s Republican debate, […]

Dr. Adrian Rogers – Steadfast Loyalty To Your Wife

Uploaded by on Jan 18, 2009

A Powerful comparison to Christ loving the church and the husband never walking out on the wife.


Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: