Before I get into the nuts and bolts of my position regarding this article, I want to state that I have no axe to grind against Lions head coach Matt Patricia. Anyone who has followed this website or my social media feeds is aware that I was desperate for the Lions to hire the former New England Patriots’ defensive coordinator.
Not only did I lobby Lions GM Bob Quinn to engage the services of his former co-worker, I promised to drop my jihad against the organization if he did so. (Of course, I am referring to wishing ill on Detroit’s professional football team as retribution for them calling the Allen Park police on me for a cartoon.)
It is my belief that this pathetic franchise needed a mathematically-inclined head coach with a big brain if they were ever going to win their first Super Bowl. And the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute graduate fit that bill. After decades of dopey coaching from the likes of Darryl Rogers, Wayne Fontes, Monte Clark, Marty Mornhinweg, Rod Marinelli and Comatose Caldwell, it was my opinion that the Lions needed a literal rocket scientist to propel them to their first playoff victory in 27 years.
And I was granted my wish on February 5th. Officially. And so I dropped my Fatwa. I got exactly the head coach I desired and was genuinely looking forward to my first Lions season as a FAN in years.
And then on the evening of May 9th, everything turned to shit. The Detroit News dropped an absolute bombshell in the midst of the #MeToo era. Back in 1996 at the age of 21, Patricia was charged with sexual assault in Texas. A fellow 21-year-old college student accused Patricia and a football teammate of violently raping her in a South Padre Island hotel room.
A grand jury convened and indicted Patricia and the case proceeded for months. On the day that jury selection was supposed to commence, the alleged victim decided she wasn’t going to go forward. The case was literally dismissed in the courtroom like some sort of movie dramatization.
The News article prompted a statement and subsequent press conference by Patricia, during which he maintained his innocence ….
“As someone who was falsely accused of this very serious charge over 22 years ago, and never given the opportunity to defend myself and clear my name, I find it incredibly unfair, disappointing, and frustrating that this story would resurface now with the only purpose being to damage my character and reputation. I firmly maintain my innocence, as I have always done.”
It was an awful statement that wrongfully attacked the Detroit News for posting the article. Sorry, Matt, but it is NEWS that the Lions new head coach was once indicted for sexual assault and the case was dropped on the courthouse steps only after the alleged victim decided not to proceed.
To make matters worse, Patricia refused to answer any questions about the case at the press conference. He actually walked out when reporters were asking what occurred in that South Padre Island hotel room. The woman had accused Patricia of bursting into the room and raping her. Other than his vague comments claiming innocence, Patricia refused to address any aspect of the story.
It seemed then to be a strategic response by some crisis management team. Don’t get into any specifics and just hope that people would let it go. Considering the type of person who doesn’t believe women who accuse men of sexual assault is the exact demographic of the NFL, it was probably a sound game plan.
And of course, you had tons of Lions fans also attacking the News for running the story in the first place while rushing to defend their team’s new head coach.
“It happened when he was 21.”
“The woman refused to testify against him.”
“The case was dropped. He’s considered innocent.”
“It occurred 22 years ago!!!! Let it go.”
“The woman was obviously lying, that’s why she refused to testify.”
These comments completely ignore the actual statistics regarding sexual assault cases. Study after study show that the percentage of false sexual assault accusations is in the low single digits. Somewhere around FIVE PERCENT.
And what is the percentage of rape cases where women either never file a complaint with the police or refuse to cooperate with an investigation? That number is estimated at 63%.
63 to 5. No, that’s not the score of the last NFC Championship game the Lions played in against Washington. Those are the figures you should be concerned with when deciding if Patricia might have actually done something extremely nefarious to that 21-year-old college student.
It goes without saying that in the eye of the law, Patricia has been exonerated. But that’s not the measure we are dealing with here, people.
Please tell me how many days Louis CK has spent in jail for masturbating in front of women? The answer is obviously “none”, but the funniest man in America hasn’t performed live in almost a year and his movie was pulled from distribution.
Kevin Spacey currently couldn’t be cast in a high school performance of “Speed the Plow” and he was never indicted for anything. Charlie Rose was fired from his TV show. Steve Wynn lost control of his casino empire. Al Franken was forced to quit the Senate. Matt Lauer got booted from the “Today Show.” And yet none of these men were criminally charged with ANYTHING, let alone wear a suit and tie to jury voir dire only to find out their case had been dismissed.
Which leads us to the defense most Lions fans raise when this subject is discussed; Patricia must be innocent because his alleged victim refused to show up for court that day.
This is patently ridiculous. There are hundreds of reasons rape victims decide either not to pursue charges against their assailant or decide at the last minute not to show up for court.
The main reason is the alleged victim is usually the one on trial once the case starts. And some women do not want to go through the process of having their character assassinated in open court. Some state that the trial actually feels like another assault.
Is it really hard to imagine why Kobe Bryant’s alleged victim wouldn’t want to answer questions regarding the number of different semen samples found in her panties in front of a bunch of strangers?
Or why Bill Cosby’s accuser wouldn’t want to listen to his attorney’s call her a greedy, con-artist whore?
Would you want to be bullied by William Kennedy Smith’s attorneys about how many sexual partners you’ve had in the past?
I could go on and on listing these sort of high-profile examples, but I would hope my point is made. There are a plethora of possibilities as to why Patricia’s accuser didn’t want to show up at the courthouse that day. And his innocence is neither the the only one, nor the most logical.
None of this makes Patricia guilty, but we are deserved SOME answers and Patricia has refused to provide any at all.
The following is a good summary of the answers we still don’t have in regard what occurred in this case (from Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk):
During that press conference back in May, the reporters in attendance did try to get Patricia to answer some of these questions. But he walked out on them in the middle of their questioning.
But where does it say that Patricia never has to have these questions asked again just because he decided to exit stage left that afternoon?
The NFL compels head coaches to give plenty of press conferences and Patricia has already interacted with the press during recently-opened training camp.
Sorry, I really don’t give a rat’s ass about the development of Kenny Golloday; or Marvin Jones’ injury; or the team’s goal-line offense plans.
I want to know what occurred in that hotel room from Matt Patricia’s own mouth. And every press conference should include questions about March 15, 1996 until Patricia decides to answer. And if he wants to continue to attempt to “no comment” his way out of this it shouldn’t go away.
You might be thinking to yourself that if Kyle Meinke or Dave Birkett ask these sort of questions they will eventually be banned from covering the team by Rod Wood or Quinn. Well, if those two join forces with Justin Rogers, Michael Rothstein and whoever covers the team for the Athletic, what will the Lions do?
Kick the Freep, News and MLive out of the press box????
There is a reason Donald Trump hasn’t given a legitimate press conference in 528 days. (You can click here for the exact up-to-date count thanks to the Washington Amazon.com Post.)
It’s because he doesn’t want to answer questions about Stormy Daniels or Karen McDougal or the scores of other women who have credibly accused the President of sexual misconduct.
Patricia doesn’t have that luxury thanks to the NFL’s infrastructure.
Unfortunately, Meinke, Birkett, Rogers and Rothstein aren’t doing their jobs. Patricia doesn’t get to decide what questions they ask.
Now do your god-damned jobs and get the answers to your questions that went unaddressed back in May. There is no statute of limitations on this shit. If they were important enough to ask THEN with Patricia walking off the podium, why aren’t they now?
Did you have sexual relations with the alleged victim?
Was it consensual?
Did you have a three-some with your teammate that day?
Patricia might deserve to keep his job even in this #TimesUp moment.
What he doesn’t get to do is issue a weak statement, attack the media for reporting the story and then expect no follow-up questions. Ever.
The Detroit sports media can do its job or we will be forced to crowdsource funds for a Ronan Farrow appearance at Ford Field.
(You can temporarily follow Moss on Twitter @DetSportsRag until his Twitter suspension ends. You can discuss this article on Facebook by clicking here. You can also go fuck yourself if you’d like. Totally up to you.)