Should Matt Patricia have volunteered information about his past indictment?

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In the two days since word emerged that Lions coach Matt Patricia faced an indictment 22 years ago for aggravated sexual assault, some have argued that Patricia should have volunteered the information to the Lions in connection with the process that resulted in Patricia being hired.

Should he have done it? Putting it another way, would you have?

Patricia, based on his comments from Thursday, believes he was falsely accused, and that he did nothing wrong. If that’s the case, Patricia spent several months in 1996 constantly worrying about what would happen if the case went to trial, surely obsessing over everything from whether to testify, whether he’d be able to handle aggressive cross-examination, whether the jury would see his side of the case, whether the judge would be fair to him, and what will happen if he’s convicted of something he didn’t do?

After the case was dismissed, Patricia surely fretted over the possibility that his future had been derailed by the false accusation. And he undoubtedly spent the last 22 years fearful that news of the indictment based on a false allegation would come to light. (He probably is relieved that can now stop worrying about it, issues caused by the disclosure notwithstanding.)

There’s a chance Patricia at some point in the past 22 years researched the question of whether employers can or can’t ask applicants about arrests/indictments. Most responsible employers will ask only about convictions. (Indeed, the NFL specifically advises teams not to ask incoming players about mere arrests.)

So he had every right to keep his mouth shut, especially since the information was readily available to anyone who wanted to find it.

That said, Patricia’s hiring came in the aftermath of the #MeToo movement, which provided widespread encouragement to victims of sexual misconduct to make their experiences known — and which created a belated day of reckoning for many offenders. The new sensitivity to issues of this nature makes it a much closer question as to whether Patricia should have volunteered information that the Lions could have found on their own.

Ultimately, Matt Patricia chose to exercise his right to remain silent about something that he believes never happened. Most of us would advise a child, spouse, brother, friend, cousin, nephew to do the same.

Once again, this opinion is premised on contention that the allegation was false. If the allegation was true, that’s a much different analysis, obviously.

53 responses to “Should Matt Patricia have volunteered information about his past indictment?

  1. Today’s latest report points out that Patricia’s criminal lawyer at the time requested copies of the accuser’s medical report and prosecutors planned to have a doctor and nurse testify during Patricia’s trial.

  2. Would you volunteer information that smears your reputation if you were falsely accused? Of course we can’t know for sure if an accusation is true – that’s why we have a legal process. the guilty should pay dearly with years of their life in jail. But without the presumption of innocence and a legal process, we are no better than Stalin’s Russia or Castro’s Cuba.

  3. How could a girl who is violently being assaulted in a hotel room not be heard by anybody?

    Also, if you and your friend have been hanging out with this girl for a few days on Spring Break and she knows your face, name and where you’re staying…would it be smart to target her? I’m not a master criminal, but Patricia is a smart guy.

    Cmon…

  4. Yes. Only an idiot would think that in the current climate that this might not become a problem for his employer. So you might just have wanted to give the people who were about to pay you $4 or $5 million a year a heads up. At least that’s what I hear from the same hypocrites defending Patricia’s asinine response to this in his interviewing process whenever players come through the draft and are combed over for things that might not have resulted in any criminal arrests or anything, and yes, I would think that same logic applies to them that I saw cited multiple times yesterday for Patricia is true, they are just X years old then or younger. Furthermore, that you don’t know about any other incidents since then doesn’t mean none have come up. Hiding this incident just makes me think that maybe there might be something else because if I was truly innocent, I’d give my new employer a heads up so they could comb over my background and know for sure before they have to go out defending me based on blind faith and prayer that no women suddenly come out of the woodwork Winestein style.

  5. why should he have . . . he was found innocent 12 years ago . . . if innocent, why should he ever have to bring it up?

  6. Once again, this opinion is premised on contention that the allegation was false. If the allegation was true, that’s a much different analysis, obviously.
    _______

    I would think if the allegation was true, he would be even less likely to bring it up.

  7. This stuff is so emotionally fraught, and with good reason. No one should ever minimize or diminish the seriousness of sexual assault and the problem as it exists in our society.

    Having said that – he was indicted and the case was dismissed. We can’t litigate the thing now, 22 years later. I don’t believe he had any obligation to bring it up to anyone – but it’s also curious that the Pats nor the Lions dug deep enough to find this in his past.

    The Court of Public Opinion is rarely fair and rarely bases its opinions on the facts.

  8. The bottom line is that Patricia is not a genuinely likeable guy. There is some weirdness there, so they probably should punt him sooner than later.

  9. lionsfan123 says:
    May 11, 2018 at 1:00 pm
    How could a girl who is violently being assaulted in a hotel room not be heard by anybody?

    Cmon…
    __________________
    You don’t know that she wasn’t and it was just ignored. Maybe she couldn’t scream?

    jbutina says:
    May 11, 2018 at 1:10 pm
    why should he have . . . he was found innocent 12 years ago . . . if innocent, why should he ever have to bring it up?
    _________________________

    He wasn’t found innocent; he wasn’t tried. He is neither guilty or innocent just accused.

  10. Never been in that position, but it were me, I would have come clean. I don’t see many employers that would hold this against someone if they knew in advance. Finding out after the hire is just a bad optic. It qas bound to come out.

  11. The elephant in the room that nobody is talking about here with respects to the Lions. Lions offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter allegedly broke into a house, climbing thru a woman’s bedroom window. Then proceeded to take his pants off and get into bed with her. Now you have your Head Coach with a previous sexual assault allegation.

    Combining the two Detroit faces on the field in charge on both sides of the ball (with Patricia being viewed as the defensive guru). And the Lions potentially have a disaster in the making. Depending upon how much media pressure and spotlighting is done here.

  12. He can say he is falsely accused, but the truth may be different. The accuser simply refused to go forward with a trial because she knew that the victim is the one who gets put on trial in a rape case. I sat on a jury, I saw it for myself. We may never know the real truth about this one, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it brings down Patricia.

  13. Innocent until proven guilty. Patricia was never tried, so why bring it up?

  14. As Mr. Florio probably knows, any DA worth his salt can get a grand Jury to indict a ham sandwich.

    Once the details we dug into, the case was dismissed. It isn’t a guilty or innocent issue, it’s a not applicable issue. The case was dismissed, therefore it didn’t exist in the first place, as far a Patricia was concerned. If I were falsely accused, indicted and then exonerated, I would put it behind me as a bad experience, and act like it never happened, too. Can’t say I blame the guy for his approach on this.

  15. NO! He has been working for over a decade for the NE Patriots and there were no issues. No issues, no problem. Its not as if he were applying to be the room monitor for a girls college dormitory! In his situation it would have had zero impact on the hire anyway as it should not have. This is much todo about nothing. I mean did we see how incompetent the NFL is with even handling the Zeke Elliott legal issue.

    This young lady had her chance and she decided she wanted it to end before it even began. people need to stop digging up this unproven crap! Its not fair.

  16. The law, which will take effect on November 4, 2010, will prohibit most employers from “request[ing] on [their] initial written application form CORI information.”[1] This key provision of the new law has been dubbed the “ban the box” provision by supporters and the media in reference to the fact that many application forms ask applicants to check “yes” or “no” boxes in response to a number of questions regarding their criminal histories. The effect of the “ban the box” provision is that employers’ application forms used in Massachusetts can no longer ask any criminal history questions. The new law does not, however, prevent employers from asking certain criminal history questions later on in the application process.

  17. As usual the only people that want this accusation that was finalized 12 years ago be continued is the media.

  18. jbutina says:
    May 11, 2018 at 1:10 pm
    why should he have . . . he was found innocent 12 years ago . . . if innocent, why should he ever have to bring it up?

    ——————-

    I hate to quibble but this is Fake News. He was not “found innocent.” The charges were dropped. Not the same thing as innocent. OJ, for instance, was found not guilty of the crime of murder. That was not a declaration of innocence (a finding that, in fact, no one died at his hands), only an indication the prosecution was unable to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt in the eyes of the law.

  19. So glad I’m not a young man growing up in the world today. I’d be scared to death of what could be construed as offensive to women when having a conversation, much less the headache of dating….

  20. My answer – and I am not a MP fan or in any way a Pats fan – is absolutely not. Not because as one poster says “because he worked over a decade and there were no issues” because that doesn’t have a thing to do with it (and it’s ridiculous). But because standard employment practice is that you can ask me if I have been convicted of crimes (felonies specifically) and he hasn’t been convicted of any crimes. That doesn’t mean he didn’t do it, but it does mean that he shouldn’t be required or feel remotely obligated to disclose it. If we all had to disclose everything we’ve ever done – granted few rise to this level either for the crime or the indictment – none of us would have jobs.

  21. NO! In many states it is illegal to ask that question
    ———————————

    The effect of the “ban the box” provision is that employers’ application forms used in Massachusetts can no longer ask any criminal history questions. The new law does not, however, prevent employers from asking certain criminal history questions later on in the application process.

  22. thegreatgabbert says:
    May 11, 2018 at 1:19 pm
    The bottom line is that Patricia is not a genuinely likeable guy. There is some weirdness there, so they probably should punt him sooner than later.
    —————————
    I am not a Pats fan or a Lions fan and i like the guy. I think it is the beard. Whatever the case, i like the guy.

  23. if you call a woman gorgeous, she might be flattered or she might be a feminist and call you scum. It’s too hard to differentiate these days anymore.

  24. Ugh, what a disaster! We don’t need anymore shame and embarrassment in Detroit!

  25. Even though it’s old can he be charged with something. So will he be allowed to coach while the NFL does its investigation. Did someone pay her off to recant her story. He should be treated how the players would be treated in this situation I dont care if its old

  26. He should’ve had the indictment expunged 15 years ago and no one would be the wiser. Instead he will have this (non)charge hanging over his head like a dark little cloud the rest of his life.

  27. Was he found guilty by a court of law by a jury of his peers? no? Well then, what the hell are we talking about here? We have a standard in this country of innocent until proven guilty. By that standard, Matt Patricia is innocent. End of story.

  28. I think anyone who ever did something dumb as a 14-15 year old should be obligated to tell their employer now so they can be fired, even if the event took place 40 years ago.
    As for events from > 20 years ago that are public record,no, of course you don’t bring it up.

  29. Anyone who says they would tell a potential employer about their 20+yr old past that they were never in fact tried for… is a liar or unemployed. There is no reason to disclose things that are irrelevant. Now if Detroit had done their own investigative work and specifically asked about the matter, sure, you tell your side of the story.

  30. In Texas, he could get an extinction, to get it removed from his record completely. An arrest with no prosecution should have NO impact on ones future…

  31. I can tell you that the federally mandated question at the end of the application where I work asks if you have ever been “arrested or convicted of the following crimes.” No one gets hired if you check that box yes. Arrest can either proceed or follow an indictment.

    I agree with the folks saying this falls short of evidence of guilt. No doubt that is true. But it is still a significant legal event and can effect your hiring status. Most executive contracts would deal with such a case and allow the employer to terminate after arrest or indictment.

  32. For any normal shmoe applying for a job the answer is likely no. However, for an NFL coach and individual who will be a major public figure and face of the franchise — yes — particularly in this climate. There simply are different levels of expectation and privacy. Legit or not, guilty or not, it is reasonable to expect a job applicant for such a publicly prominent position to be completely forthcoming. Hell, look at all the hoopla this is generating now.

  33. As a retired detective, I can only say this: I NEVER asked anyone if they have been arrested before. It is irrelevant from my positiion. I dis ask if they were ever convicted. I also pointed out that I was going to check anyway.

    Being arrested or indicted is irrelevant in the real world. You have the right to face your accusor and that did not happen.

    Does not mean he did or didn’t do it but in our society, it is irrelevant.

    PS: Put a guilty guy in a cell and they’re asleep in minutes. My guess is the stress from getting caught is gone and the body and mind are exhausted.

  34. The interesting question is why is this story coming out now? Who made the press aware of it? Park Avenue? Someone didn’t like that clown shirt.

  35. “why should he have . . . he was found innocent 12 years ago”

    Sorry fanboy. He was “innocent” in the same way Greg Hardy was… the case was dropped.

  36. Did he even do anything wrong? Accusations don’t equal guilt. In today’s world of media sensationalism and social media madness, no one is safe from being run out of their job on a rail. It is ridiculous. The fall of the latest hippie resurrection cannot come soon enough.

  37. redlikethepig says:
    May 11, 2018 at 3:31 pm
    “why should he have . . . he was found innocent 12 years ago”

    Sorry fanboy. He was “innocent” in the same way Greg Hardy was… the case was dropped.

    There were pictures of the damage Greg Hardy did to that poor girl. So while it was the same in that the case was dropped, I would not compare the two.

  38. Whew, 20 odd years ago. They should get the “reporter” who broke this story and dig into his or her past then publish any wrong doing. Got to be some or they ain’t human.

  39. Patricia isn’t on trial. The NFL, Patriots and Lions are on trial. If you know every minute detail of a prospect coming out of college from the time he was born, how could you say “We didn’t know” about the face of an NFL franchise? It’s a CEO level job. Forget about the criminal case because he is either guilty or not, can’t decide that without a trial. You can decide how asinine it is to buy the notion that “nobody knew”. That’s the crux of this story. Public sentiment will either exonerate or pass judgement on Patricia. The NFL, Patriots, and Lions either did not complete due dillegence, or they did, and did not think it mattered. If it’s the latter, than they are better off admitting that and standing strong than looking like a kid with his hand in the proverbial cookie jar. Whomever is advising the NFL and franchises is doing a horrific job.

  40. Great analysis and insight as always. This is why I search for and gobble up all your articles.

  41. All over America right now there is a numbers of lawyers desperately looking for this woman so they can sue. Who knows somewhere in this country is a woman who hopes that they never find her because she has moved on from this 20 years ago.

  42. Barney Fife says:
    May 11, 2018 at 4:47 pm
    Patricia isn’t on trial. The NFL, Patriots and Lions are on trial. If you know every minute detail of a prospect coming out of college from the time he was born, how could you say “We didn’t know” about the face of an NFL franchise? It’s a CEO level job. Forget about the criminal case because he is either guilty or not, can’t decide that without a trial. You can decide how asinine it is to buy the notion that “nobody knew”. That’s the crux of this story. Public sentiment will either exonerate or pass judgement on Patricia. The NFL, Patriots, and Lions either did not complete due dillegence, or they did, and did not think it mattered. If it’s the latter, than they are better off admitting that and standing strong than looking like a kid with his hand in the proverbial cookie jar. Whomever is advising the NFL and franchises is doing a horrific job.

    =========================/=

    It’s illegal in Massachusetts for an interviewer to ask about charges that weren’t prosecuted…. carry on.

  43. jbutina says:
    May 11, 2018 at 1:10 pm

    why should he have . . . he was found innocent 12 years ago . . . if innocent, why should he ever have to bring it up?

    _______________________________________

    He wasn’t found innocent…she decided that she could not handle the stress of a trial. That’s a whole different thing. There are only three people who know what really happened in that hotel room. Maybe nothing…but I would like to know how it got to the point that he and his friend were indicted.

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