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Saturday open thread: Do you think the Detroit Lions should have found the Matt Patricia allegations?

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Did the Lions slip up during their background search or was this too hard to find?

Green Bay Packers v Detroit Lions Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images

The allegations surrounding Matt Patricia, based on our current knowledge-set, are impossible to know whether they are true or not. By the law of the land, he is legally viewed as innocent, but there is no public evidence to exonerate him, nor is there any to prove his guilt. At this point, people are just left to just file their own beliefs on what happened on the night in question.

However, there is a lot of information we know about the Detroit Lions and their response to the news and what they could have done prior to the allegations coming to light. We know, via team president Rod Wood, the sexual assault indictment was complete news to the organization when The Detroit News approached them about the story. We also know that the Lions used a private firm to conduct a background check.

Thanks to some detective work both from ESPN and The Detroit Free Press we now know that these kind of private firms wouldn’t typically find an indictment that didn’t result in a conviction, and even if they did, Massachusetts law would prevent them from sharing it with the team. From Freep:

It’s unclear what, if any, information the firm uncovered about the case while vetting Patricia, but when the Lions went back to examine why they only recently learned about the incident, they discovered that Massachusetts employment law prevents the screening company from providing, or them from using as part of their employment decision, information about an arrest, indictment or conviction more than seven years old.

But should the Lions have done more? Today’s Question of the Day is:

Do you think the Detroit Lions should have found out about these allegations during their coaching search?

My answer: This is a really tough question to answer. Of course, in hindsight, it looks like the Lions made a huge mistake, which was only magnified by the Deadspin article pointing out that a simple Nexis search would have tipped the Lions off. But that’s extremely easy to say in hindsight.

The truth is that this would have slipped by a lot of different NFL organizations. Hell, it slipped by the Patriots for 14 years. One former NFL executive told the Detroit Free Press “This could have happened to almost anybody.”

Of course, the rest of the league’s incompetence doesn’t excuse a less thorough background check. During the NFL Draft process, teams have been rumored to send spies to follow certain draft prospects, and just about any dirt on a player typically comes to light. Why wouldn’t you hold the same sort of scrutiny for the person that you plan to be the face of the entire franchise for the next era?

Ultimately, I don’t blame the Lions for missing this, it’s hard to imagine they had any idea this was coming, especially since no one—even Patricia’s football coach at the college he was attending at the time of the allegations—knew about this. However, I do think their evaluation process needs to be fixed, and I am almost certain it will.

Poll

Do you think the Lions should have found the Matt Patricia allegations during their coaching search?

This poll is closed

  • 26%
    Yes
    (184 votes)
  • 73%
    No
    (503 votes)
687 votes total Vote Now