A Question of Integrity

If you are a college football fan, you are pretty aware of the Bobby Petrino scandal at the University of Arkansas. For those of you who aren’t, here’s the short version.
Petrino, the married with four kids head coach of the Arkansas Razorbacks, had a motorcycle accident. When he spoke to his employer about the accident he left out some key details. Little details like the fact that he wasn’t alone. He was with a 25 year old, engaged, female member of his staff. A female he later admitted to having an “inappropriate relationship” with. I love the term “inappropriate relationship,” it sounds so much nicer than “adulterous affair that will hurt my wife and kids,” doesn’t it?
Arkansas fired him as their head coach. End of story, right?
Why did they hire him in the first place? See, Petrino has a track record of not being a man of his word. On multiple occasions he has told whatever college he was working for that he wanted to be their coach of the future, all the while aggressively pursuing other job offers. In 2007 he was the head coach of the Atlanta Falcons and left in the middle of a dismal 3-10 season. One day after pledging his commitment to owner Arthur Blank, he left a laminated note to his players on the door to the locker room and was gone to coach at Arkansas.
Petrino’s problem is not that he leaves schools or messes around on his wife. Those are symptoms. The cause is that Petrino has no integrity. The dictionary defines integrity as “adherence to moral and ethical principles, soundness of moral character, honesty.”
I’m not here to pile on Bobby Petrino, the media is doing a good job of that. And if the rumors are true that he “Favre’d himself,” it’s going to get a lot uglier!
My question is, who is to blame in this whole scandal? Obviously, Petrino did wrong, so he is to blame in one sense. But what about the University of Arkansas? They hired Petrino knowing his track record, knowing that he was employed by another team when they spoke to him. They understood that Petrino didn’t have much integrity, but they also knew that he was a winner (except for the Falcons). He could win football games, and that is all that was important. How’s that working out for you now, Arkansas? Now your football program is in ruins because Petrino has been fired. Your top recruits may now bow out of their scholarships because a new coach is going to come in, maybe with a different system that won’t work for them as well.
It always amazes me when a man and woman will cheat on their spouses with each other then get married. How can they ever trust that spouse? They know the person is a cheater, that’s how they got together! It’s not difficult to see why so many of those marriages don’t work.
One of the things that God has called Christians to be is people of integrity. In Matthew 5:33-37 Jesus said, “33 -37″And don’t say anything you don’t mean. This counsel is embedded deep in our traditions. You only make things worse when you lay down a smoke screen of pious talk, saying, ‘I’ll pray for you,’ and never doing it, or saying, ‘God be with you,’ and not meaning it. You don’t make your words true by embellishing them with religious lace. In making your speech sound more religious, it becomes less true. Just say ‘yes’ and ‘no.’ When you manipulate words to get your own way, you go wrong.”
What about you? Is your life one of integrity? Can your wife, your husband, your boss, your kids trust you when they aren’t looking right at you? If we were to compare your walk and your talk, would they line up? If not, why should we trust you? If you’re not a person of your word, can you really expect trust from us? And if we refuse to trust you, can you really be upset with us?
I have prayed for Petrino, the woman in question, and their families. This is a tragedy all the way around. I have also taken this as a chance to check my own integrity. I recommend you do the same…
Shaking my head… Jerry

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