by Max Brantley
Good story in Arkansas Business by Chris Bahn on the preparation and delivery of the speech by UA Athletic Director Jeff Long a year ago on the decision to fire successful coach Bobby Petrino after his motorcycle wreck and revelation of an affair with an athletic department subordinate.
John Diamond, the top PR official at Fayetteville, provided the background.
Long’s objective in that April 10, 2012, announcement was easy to identify.
The speech "had to be a categorical indictment of what occurred, so that by the end of Jeff’s announcement people would not question why he dismissed Bobby but would recognize he had no choice but to dismiss Bobby,” Diamond said.
Pulling it off was another matter entirely.
“If this had been handled improperly, this could have been another damaging blow to intercollegiate athletics," Diamond said. "… So from a communication standpoint it was important the message was clear."