Matt Patricia, Lions will not face any discipline over 1996 case

Barring anything unforeseen, Matt Patricia and the Detroit Lions are not going to be punished for anything stemming from the report of a decades-old dismissed sexual assault case involving Patricia.

A dismissed sexual assault case from 1996 against Patricia was brought to light by the Detroit News earlier this month. The NFL said on May 10 it would look into the matter, and on May 21 it said Patricia and the Lions would face no discipline, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

That’s a swift investigation. In 1996, a 21-year-old college student claimed that during a spring break trip two football players from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, including Patricia, sexually assaulted her. Patricia was indicted but did not face trial after the alleged victim declined to testify. 

Patricia vehemently denied any wrongdoing, including in a news conference earlier this month.

12 PHOTOS
Detroit Lions coach Matt Patricia
See Gallery
Detroit Lions coach Matt Patricia
ALLEN PARK, MI - FEBRUARY 07: Matt Patricia speaks at a press conference after being hired as the head coach of the Detroit Lions at the Detroit Lions Practice Facility on February 7, 2018 in Allen Park, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
FOXBOROUGH, MA - JANUARY 21: New England Patriots defensive coordinator Matt Patricia looks at a play card in the second half against the Jacksonville Jaguars during the AFC Championship Game at Gillette Stadium on January 21, 2018 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
ALLEN PARK, MI - FEBRUARY 07: Matt Patricia speaks at a press conference after being hired as the head coach of the Detroit Lions at the Detroit Lions Practice Facility on February 7, 2018 in Allen Park, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
ALLEN PARK, MI - FEBRUARY 07: Matt Patricia speaks at a press conference after being hired as the head coach of the Detroit Lions at the Detroit Lions Practice Facility on February 7, 2018 in Allen Park, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
FOXBOROUGH, MA - JANUARY 21: New England Patriots' defensive coordinator Matt Patricia reacts during the second quarter. The New England Patriots host the Jacksonville Jaguars in an NFL AFC championship game at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, MA on Jan. 21, 2018. (Photo by Jim Davis/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
FOXBOROUGH, MA - JANUARY 17: New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, left, chats with defensive coordinator Matt Patricia, right, during practice at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass., Jan. 17, 2018. The Patriots prepare for the AFC championship game against Jacksonville. (Photo by John Tlumacki/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
INDIANAPOLIS, IN - FEBRUARY 28: Detroit Lions head coach Matt Patricia, answers questions from the media during the NFL Scouting Combine on February 28, 2018 at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, IN. (Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
ORLANDO, FL - MARCH 28: Detroit Lions head coach matt Patricia leaves the final meetings at the 2018 NFL Annual Meetings at The Ritz-Carlton Orlando, Great Lakes on March 28, 2018 in Orlando, Florida. (Photo by B51/Mark Brown/Getty Images)
INDIANAPOLIS, IN - FEBRUARY 28: Detroit Lions head coach Matt Patricia, answers questions from the media during the NFL Scouting Combine on February 28, 2018 at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, IN. (Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
FOXBORO, MA - SEPTEMBER 07: New England Patriots defensive coordinator Matt Patricia reacts on the sideline during the game against the Kansas City Chiefs at Gillette Stadium on September 7, 2017 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
HOUSTON, TX - AUGUST 19: New England Patriots defensive coordinator Matt Patricia watches a replay during the NFL preseason game between the New England Patriots and the Houston Texans on August 19, 2017 at NRG Stadium in Houston, TX. (Photo by Ken Murray/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
BOSTON - FEBRUARY 7: Matt Patricia, left, holds up a Lombardi Trophy and New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick waves during the New England Patriots Super Bowl LI Victory Parade in Boston on Feb. 7, 2017. (Photo by David L. Ryan/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

Lions off the hook

The Lions were surprised by the 22-year-old case, and it brought up many questions of whether the organization did a sufficient background check before hiring Patricia. The Patriots, shortly after the news broke, said they were unaware of the case during Patricia’s time with the team. Patricia was an assistant coach with the Patriots from 2004 through last season’s Super Bowl in February.

The NFL said the Lions “engaged in appropriate and thorough hiring practices” and that Patricia didn’t mislead the team. Patricia said he didn’t bring up the old case during the interview, and has never lied about it when asked. The NFL said he was under “no legal or other requirement to raise this issue.”

Patricia not subject to personal conduct policy in case

While players have been suspended without convictions in some cases, Patricia wasn’t subject to the personal conduct policy according to the NFL.

The league said the “allegations occurred well before his affiliation with the NFL.” That’s one reason there wasn’t a long, drawn-out investigation into what happened by the NFL, like it did in the Ezekiel Elliott case, for example.

What’s next for Patricia and the team?

Even though Patricia denied the allegations and was never brought to trial in the case, many will have a hard time forgetting the story, especially since it was revealed in a high-profile way right after he was hired for his first head-coaching job.

Other than that, the NFL’s statement seems to close the book on the case for Patricia. He already said the Lions were fully behind him, and if the team was going to make a move it presumably would have by now. Lions players have already publicly supported Patricia, so there’s no concern about that being an issue either.

The story was explosive when it was released, but a couple weeks later it seems nothing substantial will come of it for Patricia.

– – – – – – –

Frank Schwabis a writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at shutdown.corner@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

Read Full Story