The NFL determined that neither the Lions nor Matt Patricia will be subject to any discipline in regard to a previous sexual assault allegation against the Detroit coach, league sources told ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
The league met last week with the Lions and Patricia. The NFL said the Lions were not at fault for not learning about Patricia’s 1996 arrest during the interview process and that Patricia, 43, would not be disciplined for not letting his arrest be known to the club, sources said.
The situation is not subject to the personal conduct policy, as the allegations occurred well before Patricia’s affiliation with the NFL.
Patricia was accused of one count of sexually assaulting a woman in South Padre Island, Texas, during spring break in 1996. Patricia emphatically denied the accusation after it was reported earlier this month, and Lions owner Martha Ford, team president Rod Wood and general manager Bob Quinn released a joint statement expressing support for Patricia.
“The truth is on my side,” Patricia said in a news conference on May 10. “I lived with the mental torture of the situation where facts can be completely ignored or misrepresented with disregard to the consequence and pain that it would create for another person. I find it unfair and upsetting that someone would bring this claim up over two decades later for the sole purpose of hurting my family, my friends and this organization with the intention of trying to damage my character and credibility.”
The indictment never went to trial, and the case was dismissed in January 1997, after the woman who made the accusation was “unable to testify and can not give a date certain when she will be available,” according to the dismissal paperwork.
Sources said the NFL determined that the Lions engaged in an appropriate and thorough hiring practice and that the league believes Patricia was not misleading the team during the hiring process.
ESPN’s Michael Rothstein contributed to this report.