AUDIO: Lions Stand By Patricia

The Lions say they have no regrets in hiring Matt Patricia as head coach despite a sexual assault allegation from 1996.

Lions owner Martha Ford and team president Rod Wood issued a joint statement saying they fully support the former Patriots defensive coordinator.

The allegation was brought to light by the "Detroit News".

Patricia says he was falsely accused of this very serious charge 22 years ago and was never given the opportunity to defend himself and clear his name.

He added it's unfortunate this would resurface now with the sole intention of damaging his reputation.

Patricia issued a statement on the teams website.

“As someone who was falsely accused of this very serious charge over 22 years ago, and never given the opportunity to defend myself and clear my name, I find it incredibly unfair, disappointing, and frustrating that this story would resurface now with the only purpose being to damage my character and reputation.

 I firmly maintain my innocence, as I have always done.

“I would never condone any of the behavior that was alleged and will always respect and protect the rights of anyone who has been harassed or is the victim of violence.

My priorities remain the same – to move forward and strive to be the best coach, teacher, and man that I can possibly be.”