Detroit Lions owner Martha Ford, team president Rod Wood and general manager Bob Quinn released a joint statement late Wednesday expressing support for head coach Matt Patricia after a sexual assault charge against him from 22 years ago resurfaced in a Detroit News story.
Patricia, in an accompanying statement, denied the accusation, made by a woman while Patricia was a student at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute on spring break in South Padre Island, Texas, in 1996.
“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,” Patricia said in the statement. “I firmly maintain my innocence, as I have always done. I would never condone any of the behavior that was alleged and will always respect and protect the rights of anyone who has been harassed or is the victim of violence.
“My priorities remain the same — to move forward and strive to be the best coach, teacher, and man that I can possibly be.”
As of Wednesday night, Patricia was scheduled to talk with the media Thursday before the Lions open their rookie minicamp this weekend. It’s strange that it took this long for the story to get out. Your skeletons in the closet always follow you wherever you go.