Detroit Lions president Rod Wood says team followed law with Matt Patricia hiring


Detroit Lions crew president Rod Wooden stated Saturday that his crew adopted the regulation when it got here to the way it approached the hiring course of for first-year head coach Matt Patricia earlier this 12 months, even when they did not uncover a 22-year-old aggravated sexual assault indictment that has since come to mild.

“We always err on the side of hiring a firm who understands all the laws, follows them, state and federal,” Wooden advised ESPN on Saturday, “so that we don’t happen upon something that we’re not entitled to have nor would we be able to use.”

On this case, it meant following each federal regulation and the state legal guidelines of Massachusetts and Michigan. The Truthful Credit score Reporting Act doesn’t permit felony arrests that didn’t lead to convictions past seven years outdated to be thought of in attainable employment, so most search corporations don’t embody that data on the background checks they supply to employers — and that features the Lions.

That is all in response to a 1996 aggravated sexual assault indictment after an alleged assault in South Padre Island, Texas, on spring break, when Patricia was a 21-year-old scholar at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. The indictment was introduced by the grand jury, however Patricia by no means stood trial, and the case was dismissed in January 1997, when the girl who made the accusation declined to testify.

On Thursday, Patricia maintained he believes he did nothing unsuitable. He declined in the course of the information convention to enter the specifics of that night.

“I was innocent then, and I am innocent now,” Patricia stated. “I was falsely accused of something that I did not do.”

Wooden declined to say what agency the crew used for the background test aside from to say “they are a well-regarded, national professional background screening company.” He additionally stated he was unaware of APG Safety, the agency the Detroit Information reported this week had requested the indictment and dismissal varieties from the Cameron County prosecutor’s workplace in January. Wooden stated the Lions had not employed that agency for his or her background test.

Wooden is aware of there are different methods for data like this to be discovered — it’s publicly accessible in Nexis searches and on the Cameron County open data web site — however for employment functions, it couldn’t be thought of anyway. And Wooden stated his franchise wished to comply with the regulation.

“There might be ways for companies, teams in our case, to find information out about a prospective employee through other means than the legal means,” Wooden stated. “I guess if others wanted to do that, that’s their prerogative. I’m only in charge of what the Lions do, and I want to do it the right way.”

Moreover, as a result of the Lions have been following each Massachusetts and Michigan regulation, they weren’t allowed to ask Patricia about any felony or misdemeanor arrests that did not result in convictions. By Michigan regulation, they may have requested about felony arrests, though Ann Arbor, Michigan-based employment legal professional Nicholas Roumel advised ESPN he would not advise firms to ask about arrests that did not lead to convictions.

Wooden didn’t disclose what questions the franchise requested Patricia aside from saying that the solutions he gave to their questions have been truthful. Wooden declined to reply different questions on Patricia and the allegations on Saturday aside from the background search and search course of.

“There’s been a lot of criticism of people interviewing and questions that were asked that are inappropriate, at the combine and et cetera. And we’re not one of those teams that are going to do those kind of things, whether it’s a player, a coach or an employee,” Wooden stated. “We’re following the principles, and I would moderately comply with the principles and perhaps find yourself the place I am at, though we’re not pleased to be coping with this, there is no doubt about that.

“However I would moderately be doing that than have damaged the principles and had a problem that we have been in an illegal place by having some data. So there is no doubt it is a robust spot to be, however I am going to take the robust spot by following the principles versus not following the principles and being in an illegal place.”

Wooden stated they did extra than simply a regular background test and interview in vetting Patricia. They spoke with coaches who had employed him and labored with and for him, together with gamers who’ve performed for him. Every little thing, Wooden stated, got here again constructive throughout the reference checks the crew sought.

When requested if he had any regrets with how he and the Lions went by the screening course of, Wooden stated they’re all the time taking a look at enhance issues.

“I might say I am all the time making an attempt to get higher and the group is all the time making an attempt to get higher,” Wood said. “However I am unsure what particular adjustments, if any, we’d make primarily based on this. All the time making an attempt to enhance each course of.”

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