Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The coverup is worse than the crime

It's said that character is defined by what you do when nobody (or most people) are not watching.

For those that don't pay attention to sports, former Arkansas coach Bobby Petrino was fired on Tuesday. In the world of sports, most coaches get fired for the team not doing well. Quite the opposite in this case as Arkansas was one of the top teams in the country the past several seasons.

So why would a university fire a coach who was doing so well? By lying to his boss about the details surrounding a motorcycle accident he was involved with.

Sure, it was embarrassing that it was discovered he was riding with a woman half his age, while his wife and four kids were some place else. But a lot of people in high profile positions have affairs and survive.

But when the boss started investigating and asked Petrino what was going on, Petrino should have told the truth, but he didn't. Then when it was revealed that Petrino hired the woman he was having an affair with, over 158 other applicants, that raised some serious red flags (not to also mention the throwback to the days when the boss would hire the secretary who couldn't type).

At that point, the athletic director didn't have choice but to fire Petrino. Having been discovered that he hired his mistress would have probably come out at some point (if not publicly, people within the program would have found out - if they didn't know already). But the athletic director was also lied to about what really happened.

Had Petrino come clean to his boss early in the investigation (or even before one was started), he may not have saved his job. But he would have been able to at least take the high road - if there was much of one in this case. By trying to cover up his actions, it made the final decision to be fired that much easier.

As the links to the articles above showed, his character was largely questioned already. By now, his character is in tatters and he may never coach again. Learn from this, so that you don't kill your career. The lesson, as always, is that the coverup is indeed worse than the crime.

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