Wow, this past week has seen some particularly shameful stuff from the world of sports. First on Tuesday, there was Bobby Petrino quitting as coach of the Falcons to go and coach the Arkansas Razorbacks. Mind you, this was the very next day after losing a Monday Night Football game. And this was after Arkansas asked for and was denied the request of speaking with Petrino about a possible job offer. This sordid mess was so wrong in so many ways. How cowardly as a head coach, getting paid NFL head coach money, to quit on his team that way. Yes we know the team was in dire straits and going nowhere, and we know the players hated him as a coach. But hey, why did they hate him? He made his bed, and he should have laid in it by sticking it out to the end of the season. In a sport that is all about manning up and being strong, Bobby Petrino was weak and selfish.
Then on Thursday came the infamous Mitchell report, incriminating a number of baseball players as having used performance enhancing substances. The biggest name in the report was Roger Clemens. Through his lawyer, he issued an immediate denial in the hours following the release of the report. As much as I am a Yankee fan and want to believe the denial, once Andy Pettitte came clean and admitted that the Mitchell report was accurate with regards to his own use of HGH, well, I just can’t see how the Rocket’s denials can hold water. Given Pettitte’s close relationship with Clemens and the fact that they shared the same trainer, there’s no way a guy with a conscience like Pettitte’s would have decided to try HGH without first asking his buddy Roger. Even though HGH wasn’t a banned substance by MLB rules at the time, Pettitte knew he was doing something questionable because of the way he had to obtain it. I understand what he did and have no problem with the wording of his statement which started with “if what I did was an error in judgment…”. While others may pounce on him for that, I support him, because his error in judgment is in the eye of the beholder in my opinion. HGH wasn’t banned by MLB at the time, and he thought it might be able to help his elbow heal so that he could get back to his team sooner. It’s like if somebody decided to crossed the border into Mexico to get Viagara. Is it an error in judgment? Sure I think so, but I can see how others might not see it that way, or certainly not as completely black and white. Clemens on the other hand, if he is denying something that is actually the truth, is just being a stubborn liar. That is wrong in very black and white terms.
Finally, on Sunday, in dead last and trailing by 28 strokes, Rory Sabbatini withdrew before the final round of the Target World Challenge, an invitational event hosted by Tiger Woods to raise money for charity. There were only 16 invitees for this event and Rory decides to pull out, at first citing personal reasons and later changing his story to “shin splints”. Mind you, last place for this event paid $170,000 too. Rory got that money and yet he didn’t even stick around to sign autographs or glad hand with the sponsors. What a dick.
I’m not sure which of these stories gets my goat the most, but perhaps the Bobby Petrino thing is the most absurd. After all, he’s going back to the college ranks. College coaches are supposed to be role models for America’s kids. They’re supposed to be teachers of character and leadership. What kind of example are they trying to set down there in Arkansas anyway? With a stand up guy like Bobby Petrino as their guide, don’t be surprised if the next Michael Vick or OJ Simpson comes out of that program.