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Petrino firing offense? Not adultery or lie, but putting Arkansas at risk


Petrino didn't reveal a woman was with him when he wrecked his motorcycle till after he was found out. (AP)  
Petrino didn't reveal a woman was with him when he wrecked his motorcycle till after he was found out. (AP)  

Bobby Petrino has to be fired.

You can write that without being happy about it. You can think that without being an ogre. You can know that, just like you know two and two gives you four, because this is a matter of math and logic, not wrath and loathing.

Bobby Petrino has to be fired, and not because he had an inappropriate relationship. Petrino has to be fired, and not because the other woman was on the back of his motorcycle when he ran it off the road, injuring himself. Petrino has to be fired, and not even because he lied to his bosses about the woman on the back of his bike when he ran it off the road.

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A man can do all of those things and survive, both with his boss and in the court of public opinion. Even in my opinion. As bad as it is to lie to your bosses about having a passenger on your bike when you crashed it -- and lying to the public in the process -- it's not so bad that I'd scream, Fire him! Because there are circumstances there, human circumstances that don't trump moral or legal obligations, but still must be considered.

Petrino lied about the woman on his bike to save his marriage. Noble? No, he's not noble. But that's why he lied, and I think we all get that. Couple that human reaction to Arkansas' return to national prominence under Petrino, and you can see how Arkansas would overlook the lie and allow Petrino to return.

But that woman on the back of Petrino's bike? He hired her last week. Gave her a paid position in the Arkansas football offices.

Arkansas can't overlook that.

So it's like I said, Bobby Petrino has to be fired. Not just has to be fired -- but will be fired. If you're an Arkansas fan who wants Petrino to survive this, get ready because it has to happen. Putting Petrino on administrative leave was merely the first step for Arkansas. Petrino can't survive what he did, and I'm not talking about the wreck or even the lie.

Petrino can't survive hiring his apparent mistress.

Let me be as clear about this as possible: The relationship, the crash and the lie have nothing to do with why Petrino will be fired.

Had the crash never happened, but Arkansas had discovered some other way -- maybe an anonymous phone call -- that Petrino had hired this woman, Arkansas would have to fire him. Because while there are mistakes you can make as a human being and be forgiven, there are mistakes you cannot make as an employee and keep your job.

You understanding me? I'm not saying -- not at all -- that in the grand scheme of things, hiring her is the worst thing Petrino did. It's not.

As a human being, cheating on his wife -- cheating with the fiancée of another man -- is the worst thing Petrino did in this story. But you don't get fired for cheating on a spouse.

You do, however, get fired for carrying on with an employee. Especially if it started before you hired the employee. We're talking textbook sexual harassment, though I don't imagine the other woman, Jessica Dorrell, is getting much sympathy these days. She was cheating on her fiancé, and she was cheating with the husband of another woman. I get it: Dorrell is not a sympathetic figure to the general public.

But the University of Arkansas is not the general public. The University of Arkansas is a public school with an endowment of more than $1 billion and an annual budget of more than $500 million, and lots of those bucks would be on the line if Jessica Dorrell ever decided to sue her boss at the University of Arkansas on the grounds of sexual harassment.

As repulsive as this whole argument might sound, that is why Petrino has to be fired. Not because he was a bad husband or a liar. He has to be fired because he made Arkansas vulnerable to a monstrous lawsuit, and Arkansas cannot accept that.

Nor should Arkansas accept that, let me add. Jessica Dorrell isn't entirely sympathetic, but she is the victim of sexual harassment. We can differ on that point, and I'm thinking lots of you will disagree, but sexual harassment is about power -- one person has it over the other -- and Petrino had it over Dorrell. She's 25, half his age. She was once an athlete at Arkansas, the same athletic department where Petrino is the highest-paid, highest-profile employee. She had some sort of entry-level fundraising position with the Razorback Foundation, which exists primarily to fund Petrino's football program, when she was hired by Petrino to be his student-athlete development coordinator for football.

This was sexual harassment, and this happened under the banner of the University of Arkansas. And it got exposed.

All of which leaves Arkansas with only one choice.

Bobby Petrino has to be fired. To be honest with you, I'm surprised it hasn't happened yet.

Gregg Doyel is a columnist for He covered the ACC for the Charlotte Observer, the Marlins for the Miami Herald, and Brooksville (Fla.) Hernando for the Tampa Tribune. He was 4-0 (3 KO's!) as an amateur boxer, and volunteers for the ALS Association. Follow Gregg Doyel on Twitter.

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