When I speak to young people, and even more so now during the #Me Too Movement era. I am wont to say, “Chastity is a boy’s best friend.” Because, I add, if nothing happened between you and a woman, there’s nothing to talk about. And it’s much harder to fabricate a criminal charge. Like imperfect contrition, choosing chastity to sidestep various negative consequences will suffice, and it’s also a good building block for future growth in virtue.
I derive my axiom, in part, from a song made famous by Marilyn Monroe and arguably more so by Carol Channing, given her longevity: “Diamonds Are A Girl’s Best Friend.” It’s a cynical take on relationships going back to the late 1940s, basically arguing that a relationship with a man may not endure, but the diamond(s) he gives you will.
Alas, diamonds are not much of a best friend, as countless women from broken relationships of the completely consensual variety can attest despite possessing their big gems, whereas women who wear much smaller rocks—but who are also in loving marriages—can testify to what’s really most important.
As a native Detroiter now residing in a neighboring suburb, I was reminded of all this when Matt Patricia, the new coach of the NFL Detroit Lions, was accused—along with a college friend—of sexual assaulting a woman during a 1996 spring break trip to South Padre Island, Texas.
As reported in both local and national secular media, Patricia has adamantly maintained his innocence. While a grand jury in Texas found enough evidence to indict Patricia and his friend, the woman ultimately chose not to go forward with the matter, saying she could not handle the stress of a trial. And so the case was dismissed.
The old charges have resurfaced as Patricia, who earned several Super Bowl championship rings while working for the New England Patriots, including as the team’s defensive coordinator, is now the head coach for the Lions.
In defending himself, Patricia referenced both his parents, whom he said had raised him to know right from wrong, and his older sisters, whom he said had taught him to respect women.
However, when asked whether he was sexually intimate in a consensual manner with the alleged victim, Patricia declined to answer.
“Again, what I think is important here, what happened 22 years ago is what didn’t happen,” Patricia said. “As I said, I was innocent then and I’m innocent now. I was falsely accused of something I did not do.”
“I was accused of something that I did not do,” Patricia added. “I went through the process, and the case was dismissed.”
Given that there was an actual indictment, it seems that something did occur, whether consensual or not. The Detroit News reports that medical evidence was gathered from the investigation, though it’s unclear whether there was DNA evidence.
I don’t know the alleged victim, and I’ve never met Matt Patricia, although the overwhelming majority of what I’ve learned about him is positive. And yet, even if one concludes that Patricia is telling the truth about the alleged incident, there is no doubt the NFL coach would love to relive that day back in 1996 another way. Because some of his choices obviously continue to yield negative dividends for him.
Which brings me back to my axiom, “Chastity is a boy’s friend.” Because if nothing happened, there’s nothing to talk. And it’s much harder to fabricate a criminal charge.
I mention “fabricate,” because I recall one television crime drama in which a man was framed for raping and murdering a woman he knew, even though he actually did neither. However, he made himself vulnerable by being sexually intimate with a high-priced call girl, who provided medical evidence of their encounter to those who wanted to frame him. Which was then planted on the murdered victim.
The man was acquitted in the end, but it was an especially chilling reminder that chastity is indeed a boy’s best friend. May all people—both men and women—learn from Matt Patricia’s cautionary tale as well.