News came out of The Detroit News that in 1996, new Lions head coach, Matt Patricia, was indicted, but never tried for sexual assault.
Patricia had been arrested for the incident when a 21-year old woman accused Patricia and his then-teammate, Greg Dietrich, of attacking her in her hotel room where they proceeded to violently sexually assault her.
The charges were eventually dropped and Patricia claims that he was falsely accused.
Detroit Lions team President, Rod Wood, had this to say about the accusation.
“I am very comfortable with the process of interviewing and employing Matt,” Wood said. “I will tell you with 1,000-percent certainty that everything I’ve learned confirmed what I already knew about the man and would have no way changed our decision to make him our head coach.”
Wood also said the woman recanted the sexual assault allegations multiple times — a claim not substantiated by existing records or lawyers for Patricia and his fraternity brother.
The then 21-year old Matt Patricia was set to face trial, but his accuser had backed out and decided not to testify. According to the article, the details of the alleged attack are unclear and the police reports had been discarded.
Patricia’s background check which has now come into question has been defended by Rod Wood. He claims that the background check only picks up on criminal history which, because this case never went to trial, doesn’t include this incident.
Personally, I find this to be immensely unfair to Matt Patricia. Not because I feel bad about these old accusations, but because someone had to dig something up which eventually evaporated into nothing.
Look, if Patricia actually did commit this heinous act well then sure, the guy should lose his job. But the accuser backed out of the trial and there is nothing that says that this incident wasn’t fabricated. For the most part, I am on the woman’s side in these types of situations. Which, if she came forward herself and rehashed this old accusation than this would be a different story. But she didn’t come to the forefront and try to smear Patricia. It was a newspaper who was just trying to find dirt.
Granted, they did find the dirt that they were looking for. Sure, it was something that happened about 22 years ago, but dirt nonetheless. If she came forward herself and wanted to discuss this, I may feel differently. Having a third party try to attack Matt Patricia however, I can’t buy into it.
We’ll see how the story unfolds though. This isn’t the type of story that just disappears. I’m sure there will be more details to come.
-Nick Quaglia (@NickQuag)