That’s right. The same Bobby Petrino who was fired by Arkansas in April for his off-field indiscretions and deceptions.
Have you picked yourself up from the floor and stopped laughing yet? Here’s exactly what Johnson had to say to Gino Torretta and Jack Arute on their Sirius XM radio show:
“Some people might laugh but I’m serious about it. If they want an outstanding coach they ought to bring back Petrino or hire Butch Davis. And people say, ‘Well how in the world can you bring back Petrino?’ I said, ‘Listen, you forgave Bill Clinton.’ Forgive the man. Forgive the man for making a bad decision. Give him an opportunity to coach again.
“I mean he wants to get back into coaching and he’s a great coach and he made a mistake. This whole country, it’s built on forgiving people and giving them second chances. And I think the fan base would love to bring him back. But if they don’t bring him back? But you know, Butch Davis, give him an opportunity. …”
While it’s true that forgiveness is divine, it’s also true that you only have so many cheeks to turn. I have no doubt that eventually Petrino will coach again, but I highly doubt that it will be at Arkansas. Then again, Arkansas did hire him the first time knowing precisely the lack of character they were getting, and they are a program desperate to remain relevant in the college football landscape.
The point is, whether it’s Arkansas or some other team, Petrino will find himself on the sidelines again. Some school will find themselves more concerned with wins and with trying to retain the lucrative donations coming from boosters based on those wins than they are in the integrity of the person they are hiring to lead a group of impressionable young minds.
If Arkansas does the unthinkable, and rehires Petrino, they deserve everything they get. They will deserve every win, and every bit of discomfort that comes with having Bobby Petrino as the face of their football program. And when things start to go downhill, and another school comes along dangling a fat payday and unlimited perks in front of one of Petrino’s faces, they shouldn’t be surprised when their players find a goodbye note scribbled in crayon taped to the locker room door.
Yes, forgive Bobby Petrino. Everyone deserves that. But never forget all the harm he’s done in every stop he’s made along the way in his career, for it is the doom of your program if you do.