The Lions hired new head coach Matt Patricia last year without doing a background check, which would have revealed that Patricia had been indicted for aggravated sexual assault in 1996. Lions General Manager Bob Quinn, who hired Patricia, has kept a low profile since that news surfaced. But today Quinn addressed the issue, and denied that he came up short in researching Patricia before hiring him.
At his end-of-season press conference, Quinn said that background checks aren’t his department, and he sees no reason he should have known.
“I’m not paid to do extensive background checks,” Quinn said.
It might technically be true that Quinn’s job description doesn’t include background checks. But it absolutely is his responsibility to ensure that someone in the organization is checking the background of head-coaching candidates. If Quinn isn’t capable of delegating that task to someone competent, then Quinn himself isn’t suited to the job of General Manager of an NFL team.
And it would not have taken an “extensive” background check to uncover the charge against Patricia, which was available via a simple Nexis search. Again, Quinn may not be the person who is individually responsible for such a search, but he ought to make sure someone within the organization is handling it.
It’s also worth wondering why Quinn didn’t simply ask Patricia, whom he’s known for many years going back to their days in New England together, whether there was anything in his background the team needed to know about. If Quinn and Patricia have a strong relationship, as Quinn has always said they do, then Quinn should have looked Patricia in the eye before hiring him and asked him, “Is there anything in your background that could be a problem for the organization if it came to light?” If Quinn didn’t ask that question, then again he failed to do what NFL General Managers need to do. And if Quinn did ask that question and Patricia lied to him, that’s an even bigger problem.