There isn’t much that Ozzie Guillen and Bobby Petrino have in common. Except that earlier this week, they both found themselves as the subject of some unpleasant headlines.
They also found themselves as the latest members of the “will he or won’t he get fired for (insert negative-headline making story)” club. It’s not an exclusive group — Gregg Williams and Stan Van Gundy recently took the clubhouse tour — and it doesn’t really matter if they eventually get the boot or not.
Led by the Twitterati’s multitude of shouting voices, the sporting public has decided that anything more controversial than misuse of timeouts is worthy of speculating about a person’s job security.
You’d think Americans would be more sympathetic in a down economy. However it seems magnified in the wake of people calling for the same punishment for two very different infractions.
Petrino proved once again that the cover-up is often worse than the crime. A man that many already thought was a scumbag for how he had left previous jobs now made himself into a lying scumbag. That might be arguing degrees of badness — like comparing different seasons of Flavor of Love — but it reinforces the idea that Petrino isn’t to be trusted. Not by anyone — his boss, his wife or any of his current players or potential recruits. Makes it hard to do your job.
Guillen’s sin was voicing his opinion. Yes, it was an opinion not held by the majority and it made lots of people uncomfortable. But it was simply that — an opinion — one that has nothing to do with his job and holds little sway, since I’m pretty sure the U.S. State Department doesn’t have Ozzie on speed dial.
I can live the latter, but not the former. But judging from public reaction, not everyone feels that way. Feelings are raw. All offenders must go. Somewhat surprisingly, little angst has been directed toward the men that hired them, despite both Guillen and Petrino’s well-documented histories of being, well … Guillen and Petrino. Actually, Arkansas athletic director Jeff Long is receiving a fair amount of sympathy. As if he was unaware that he was hiring a guy with questionable morals.
This is not an apology for coaches. They are hired to be fired but well compensated for their troubles. Criticism and public scrutiny comes with the territory. Both Petrino and Guillen earned their respective punishments.
While Petrino’s story at Arkansas is written, Guillen’s continues in Miami. What happens next depends on Guilen and how he atones with the community. There is still a chance that this could do him in, if the Cuban exiles in Little Havana make life difficult for Ozzie and the Marlins. But let’s take a breath and watch it play out before we call for the end.