The Detroit News reported Wednesday night that recently hired Detroit Lions head coach Matt Patricia was indicted on a sexual assault charge in 1996, when he was in college. The case never went to trial after, according to authorities, the victim decided not to testify due to feeling she could not “face the pressures or stress of a trial.”
The News contacted Lions team president Rod Wood, and he told the paper that the team was unaware of the indictment when they hired Patricia because their background check only covered criminal convictions. But that statement doesn’t address just how easy it would have been for the Lions to find the indictment.
Deadspin found it in 30 seconds. Just plug Patricia’s name into the criminal record search function in Nexis, a ubiquitous public records database and the first step for most large organizations’ background research into any individual about whom information is sought. There’s no reason anyone working on background checks on behalf of the Lions wouldn’t have Nexis, if not something much more powerful. The results of the search can be seen above.
While the language of the charge is different—and Nexis can occasionally get details wrong—much of it lines up: the name, the birthdate, and the case number is the same as those cited in the News article. At the very least, it’s a flag to go pull this case file and see what happened, which the News did. The Detroit Lions, which Forbes estimates to be worth $1.7 billion? It sure seems like they didn’t.
Deadspin staff writer Lauren Theisen contributed to this report.