Lions coach Matt Patricia met with reporters on Thursday, as part of a previously-scheduled press conference. He opened by making a statement regarding the story that surfaced on Wednesday evening of an indictment from 1996 on a charge of aggravated sexual assault. After his statement ended, he took roughly 13 questions.
“I lived with the mental torture of a 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 up this claim 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 am innocent now.
“Let me be clear, my priorities remain the same. To move forward and strive to be the best teacher, coach, and man that I can possibly be.”
Patricia first was asked whether he thought the issue would never come up, especially in the wake of the #MeToo movement. He explained that he began interviewing for jobs not long after the incident was resolved, and that “it never was an issue.”
Next came the question of what happened on the night in question, which resulted in Patricia and a college football teammate/fraternity brother being accused of entering a woman’s hotel room and sexually assaulting her while on spring break.
“Again, I think what’s important here is what happened 22 years ago is what didn’t happen,” Patricia said. “As I said, I was innocent then, I am innocent now. I was falsely accused of something I did not do.”
A picture recently making the rounds on social media shows Jason Witten, Tony Romo, Dez Bryant and DeMarco Murray sitting in the locker room after a victory over the Colts on December 21, 2014. The players are all smiles, having clinched the NFC East.
It seems like only yesterday that Witten, Romo, Bryant and Murray were teammates on the Cowboys.
Romo and Witten’s departures in particular have left a hole in Jones’ heart and a leadership void on the team.