The Detroit Lions find themselves in uncharted waters right now, having hired Matt Patricia as their head coach only to see allegations of a dismissed sexual assault charge from 1996 find their way into the spotlight in 2018. Patricia maintains his innocence in the case, and the Lions as an organization have illustrated their support through multiple public statements

At least one of Patricia’s new players has vocally supported his coach as well. Wide receiver Golden Tate, speaking to Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press, called the situation “a bunch of bullcrap” and said Lions players support Patricia “to the max.”

Tate also said he believes the whole situation is “going to blow over, obviously.” 

“I don’t know the full details, but I know inside of our locker room, we support Coach Patricia to the max,” Tate told Birkett. “There was nothing — didn’t even go to court, I think it was thrown out, so why is it even a problem? Honestly, I feel for his family, who have to deal with this right now. And I know that this isn’t how we want to start the offseason dealing with this crap, and so it’s going to blow over, obviously, it always does.”

According to the wide receiver, Patricia has spoken with the team about the situation, although the players and their new coach did not engage in any back-and-forth about the particulars of his situation. Patricia answered roughly 13 questions from the media following a prepared statement earlier this week

“We’re just going to try to stay focused and we are a family right now, which our job is to protect our family, so as an organization we’re going to hover around coach and his family and protect and love them the best way we can,” Tate said. “But this situation is completely, to me, unacceptable and a bunch of B.S. that it’s even got to this.”

Tate likened the situation to when he was “applying for jobs at Chili’s when I was 18” and noted that Patricia can, based on how the legal process played out, answer “no” when asked if he’s been convicted or if has any felonies on his record. 

“This guy’s been coaching for a bunch of years and now this comes up,” Tate continued. “When I was applying for jobs at Chili’s when I was 18 and other jobs, they always ask on the applications, which is way lesser than what he’s applying for, obviously, but they ask you, have you been convicted of anything or do you have any misdemeanors or whatever it is? And both of those answers are no. So I don’t understand why this is coming up now, why it’s a big problem.”

There is a very valid point to be made about Patricia being innocent until proven guilty, and he was deemed innocent by the standards of the court of law. But it is also likely that people will continue to dig into the case and that people involved with the case, including the accuser (who later decided not to testify), will come forward or be interviewed, and that the opinion of the matter could change. That all remains very much to be seen, but it is unlikely this will just “blow over.”

Tate also thinks the case will not have an impact on the Lions locker room and that the leadership will prevent it from becoming an issue.

“I think we have some great guys with common sense and great leadership inside of our locker room that if there is any negative talk, guys will shut that down pretty quickly because we understand what’s going on a little bit better, and it’s probably — we’re going to rally around each other,” Tate said. “I just think it’s a bunch of bullcrap. I think it’s a bunch of B.S. that it’s even being talked about.”

That’s just not the right take to have here. Even if the matter happened a long time ago, it’s not something you just ignore because the charges were dismissed. Patricia and the Lions players might not like it being resurfaced because of what it could mean for the football team, but there are bigger forces and more important issues to deal with here. As such, it will continue to be a topic that is talked about an issue that is dealt with, regardless of what Tate wants.

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