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Old 05-12-2018, 06:13 PM
 
Location: PVB
3,220 posts, read 1,653,936 times
Reputation: 3732

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By PAT LEONARD
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
MAY 12, 2018 | 5:00 PM


Detroit Lions coach Matt Patricia's 1996 indictment for aggravated sexual assault -- dismissed because the victim did "not feel she can face the pressures or stress of a trial" -- is alarming for what it revealed about the NFL's hiring practices. Patricia spent 14 years in the Patriots organization. Bill Belichick's statement read: "The New England Patriots were not aware of the matter that recently came to light."

Lions president Rod Wood's first response to the Detroit News, which broke the story, was: "I don't know anything about this." Detroit's brass later admitted Patricia had been "the subject of a standard pre-employment background check which did not disclose this issue" before the club had hired him in early February.

Patricia, 43, even said the issue "just has never been part of any process that I've been involved with" as far as job interviews. Imagine: a league with such a sprawling, omnipresent reach with organizations pleading ignorance to a matter that, since the story broke, has been simple for many media outlets to find quickly.

The fact is, it is absurd and hard to believe that NFL teams vet college kids so meticulously for the NFL Draft, often holding the smallest nugget of negative information against them; and that the league is motivated to conduct sweeping investigations into issues as trivial as deflated footballs. But a coach can rise through the league's ranks without even a whiff of an issue this serious, despite the dismissal of the case.

And Wood's suggestion in a recent ESPN story that the Lions would have had to break the law to find this information is absolutely ridiculous. I honestly can't believe his comment:

"There might be ways for companies, teams in our case, to find information out about a prospective employee through other means than the legal means," Wood told ESPN. "I guess if others wanted to do that, that's their prerogative. I'm only in charge of what the Lions do, and I want to do it the right way."

Now, the NFL says it will review the matter, and this story is far from over, and rightfully so, despite Patricia insisting "I was innocent then and I am innocent now."

The Detroit News since has reported that the prosecution had interviewed five witnesses and obtained medical evidence from the alleged victim leading up to Patricia' indictment by a Texas jury. And though the South Padre Island police department said it does not have a computerized record of the investigation, the department is sorting through old storage files for a paper record of the police report.

I have been asked several times in the last few days if the Giants were aware of Patricia's 1996 indictment, given that he had interviewed with the Giants in January and was the leading candidate at one point to succeed Ben McAdoo before taking the Lions job. Here is my answer:

It is unlikely we will find out what the Giants did or did not know here, and it's not fair in my opinion to speculate on what they did or did not know. Because they did not hire Patricia; the Lions did. Plus, hypothetically, if the Giants had convinced Patricia to take the job and didn't know yet, they would have had about three additional weeks to vet him and do more homework before officially hiring him after the Feb. 4 Super Bowl. They could have found out then.

All I know for sure is that it isn't acceptable that the Patriots and Lions did not know; these organizations cannot be beyond reproach; and I am especially disgusted with Detroit ownership and management mentioning in their official statement: "Matt was 21 at the time and on spring break in Texas." The implication that these are mitigating factors is chilling, and frankly, this type of rationale implicates guilt more than innocence.
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