Dear Jeff Long,
Thank you for standing up for our state. With our small state inferiority complex, Arkansans are so desperate to be recognized as a real contender. We are an odd and hopefully endearing bunch, with most of us cheering for the Hogs, and no professional team to rally behind. You seem to understand us well.
As a lifer here in the Natural State, I appreciate the way you represented us on the national stage tonight. You showed true leadership, and that is rarely seen these days on any platform.
Clearly, this evening was difficult on you, but your show of emotion made your conviction clear and your words more powerful. The pressure on you over the last 5 days must have been immense. Your lack of compromise in the face of it inspires.
I must say that I was hoping for this decision. As you so eloquently stated, it was the job, not the consensual relationship that made this untenable. Petrino’s behavior put the reputation of the U of A, the football program, and the entire state at risk, but honestly I was worried you wouldn’t do it. The boosters, the players, the recruits, the possibilities of the upcoming season, the leadership failures at Penn State and the University of Montana-it made me cynical and doubtful of you, and I don’t even know you. Please forgive me.
You proved that there are still truths worth standing on, and for the youth of our state, it is a message they hear infrequently, if at all. I know, because I see it in my office every day. Entitlement, arrogance, and moral compromise rule the day. Integrity, honesty, full disclosure, valuing the right thing over the easy thing, and humility are in scarce supply.
The message won’t be received well by some, maybe not even half of our fans. Some of them will come around, but some never will. And that’s ok. You can clearly weather the storm.
My prayers are with you and your family, the assistants and theirs, the players, Ms. Dorrell and her former fiance, and the Petrino family. As you said, there are things we sometimes forget to think about. The very human things.
I hope Coach Petrino and Ms. Dorrell can enter into a time of self-reflection and repentance, finding grace and second chances are there for us all, the private and the most public offenders.
Thank you again,