Just Tell the Truth, OK?

Dr. David L. Chancey's picture

I know there are two sides to every story, but the way this Bobby Petrino exit from the Atlanta Falcons came across reminds us that, as our mothers told us growing up, honesty is always the best policy. Obviously, I was not within earshot of previous conversations between Petrino and Falcons owner Arthur Blank before his infamous December 11 resignation from the Falcons and subsequent joining the Arkansas Razorbacks as head coach hours later. So I don’t who said what.

However, IF Bobby Petrino told Arthur Blank that he intended to stay with the Falcons while at the same time he felt he may be ultimately leaving the Falcons, then Petrino certainly misled his boss. That’s putting it nicely.

Hours before kick-off of Monday Night Football featuring the Falcons and New Orleans Saints, Blank reportedly called Petrino into his Buckhead office and asked him straight up about rumors that Arkansas was courting Petrino. Was Petrino committed to the Falcons for the long haul?

“I pressed him,” Blank said, “because I needed to know.”

At the end of the hour long meeting, according to the Atlanta Journal Constitution, Petrino stood up to leave. “He shook my hand,” Blank reported, “and said ‘you have a head coach.’”

Twenty-four hours later, Blank didn’t and Arkansas did. What happened? In the days to come, reports surfaced regarding Petrino’s family not being happy in Atlanta, Blank’s over-involvement in football operations, and Petrino’s deciding he liked college football better than pro football. So when Arkansas beckoned, Petrino answered the call.

So where was the honesty, and why lie when telling the truth, or at least the part that wasn’t confidential at that point, would have been the higher road to take?

“Yes, Arthur, I have been contacted by Arkansas, and since I’ve already told you that I have serious misgivings about coaching pro football, I think I need to at least listen to what they have to say. I’ll keep you posted and will not blind side you in any way.”

Instead, a handshake and “you have a head coach.” Sounds like less than the truth to me. If this was a one-time incident, it might just raise an eyebrow in passing. But the University of Louisville folks are still reeling about Petrino’s stating he’d be with Louisville forever just before bolting to the Falcons. Then there’s the earlier incident in which Petrino interviewed for the head coaching job at Auburn on the sly while the head coaching job at Auburn wasn’t even open. There are some serious issues here.

Ironically, the University of Arkansas’ official motto, Veritate Duce Progredi, translates “To Advance With Truth As Our Guide.” Unfortunately, many see nothing wrong with lying.

Call it telling a white lie, or talking out of both sides of one’s mouth, or flat-out misrepresenting the truth in an attempt to deceive or mislead, lying is wrong.

God hates lying. Proverbs 12:22 reads “Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord; but they that deal truly are His delight.”

Proverbs 6:16-19 reads, “These six things the Lord hates, yes, seven are an abomination to Him: a proud look, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that are swift in running to evil, a false witness who speaks lies, and one who sows discord among the brethren.”

Colossians 3:9 reads, “Do not lie to one another, since you have putt off the old man with his deeds.” If we are new creatures in Christ, then the old life of lying has been buried and we now strive to be Christ-like and pleasing to God. Lying is not pleasing to God.

Folks, just tell the truth. For people who have allowed lying to become a way of life, take the higher road and learn to speak a new language: truth and honesty. Think before you speak, then be factual, pointed, and truthful in your response.

You’ll sleep better, and you won’t have to worry about your words coming back to haunt you and bite you when the truth eventually surfaces.

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