The NFL will not discipline the Lions nor new head coach Matt Patricia after a sexual assault accusation in Texas from 1996 allegedly involving Patricia and a fellow fraternity member resurfaced earlier this month.
"Our office reviewed the matter with the Lions and Mr. Patricia, and ensured the club engaged in appropriate and thorough hiring practices and that the Coach did not mislead the team during the interview process," league spokesperson Brian McCarthy said in a statement to NFL Network's Tom Pelissero.
"We determined that the Lions handled the interview process in a thoughtful and comprehensive manner and fully and appropriately complied with all applicable employment laws. As we learned from both Mr. Patricia and the Lions, the matter was not part of his employment interview process for job opportunities outside of or within the NFL. He was under no legal or other requirement to raise this issue.
"This is not subject to the personal conduct policy as the allegations occurred well before his affiliation with the NFL."
According to Cameron County (Texas) Court records, Patricia and Gregory Dietrich were each indicted by a grand jury on one count of felony aggravated sexual assault but the charges were later dismissed when the alleged victim would not testify at trial.
Patricia has maintained his innocence since the accusation came to light and has received support from the Lions organization.
"I was innocent then and I am innocent now," Patricia said during a May 10 news conference. "Let me be clear, my priorities remain the same: To move forward and strive to be the best coach, teacher and man that I can possibly be."