Detroit Lions head coach Matt Patricia held a press conference on Thursday to address a report from the Detroit News that said that he had been indicted for sexual assault back in 1996.
The case against Patricia was dismissed after, according to authorities, the victim decided not to testify due to the feeling that she could not “face the pressures or stress of a trial.”
Patricia discussed the issue during a nearly 10-minute presser saying that he wanted to “clear his name” and saying what happened in 1996 “very traumatic to me” and also saying that “there were claims made about me that never happened.”
Patricia brought up his family during his presser, stating that his parents “taught me to know the difference between right and wrong” and that he had two older sisters who taught him “respect and love”.
Patricia went on to say that he didn’t condone “any of the type of behavior that has been alleged.”
“In these times, we need to be even more sensitive and responsible in dealing with these issues and separate right from wrong,” Patricia said. “Thankfully truth is on my side. I lived with the mental torture of a situation where facts can be completely ignored or misrepresented with disregard to the consequence and pain 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. I was innocent then and I am innocent now”
Patricia then fielded questions and was met by a question from a reporter who asked how he could not think this would have resurfaced given the ongoing #MeToo movement, to which Patricia replied that he had been interviewing for jobs for 22 years and “it was never an issue.”
Patricia followed up by saying “I am innocent.”
Another reporter followed up by asking Patricia what had happened that night back in 1996.
Patricia said that, “What’s important here is what happened 22 years ago is what didn’t happened. As I said, I was innocent then and I am innocent now. I was falsely accused of something I did not do” while pointing out that he went through the legal process and that “the case was dismissed.”
Patricia was asked if what had happened was consensual, to which Patricia responded by saying, “Again, I did nothing wrong. That’s all I will say on that matter.”
Patricia was then asked if this came up during the interview process with the Lions. Patricia answered, “There was never any situation in the Lions interview in which I did not disclose the truth.”
Patricia added that he already had talked about this issue with the team, saying “in this time, we do need to be sensitive and responsible, and I use this as a learning moment for them so that we so all can try to be better.”
Patricia was asked, as the last question, if this issue came up with any of his teams such as Syracuse, Amherst, and the New England Patriots.
Patricia replied by saying, “Thank you, I appreciate everyone’s time” before walking off the stage.
You can watch the press conference below: