Lions center apologizes for harassing band
Detroit Lions center Dominic Raiola (51) during training camp at Detroit Lions training facility.(Photo: Andrew Weber, USA TODAY Sports)
Story HighlightsMembers of the University of Wisconsin band allege Dominic Raiola hurled slurs and insulted themThe band was performing before the Lions Packers game in Green Bay on SundayOn Tuesday, Raiola apologized and agreed to make a donation to the bandALLEN PARK, Mich. Detroit Lions center Dominic Raiola has apologized to University of Wisconsin Band Director Michael Leckrone for remarks Raiola made to members of the band before Sunday's game at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, the team announced in a statement Tuesday.
The Lions said Raiola had a phone conversation with Leckrone on Tuesday and also promised to make a significant donation to The Marching Band Fund, which supports the band.
"My interaction with the Wisconsin Marching Band was inappropriate," Raiola said in a statement released by the team. "I apologize Authentic Peyton Manning Jersey to those I offended, along with all of the members of Wisconsin's Marching Band.
"I also apologize to the Lions' organization and my teammates. I understand the standards to which we should conduct ourselves, and my actions Sunday fell dramatically short of those standards."
Lions coach Jim Schwartz said Monday neither he nor his coaches heard Raiola use homophobic or other slurs as alleged by band members.
According to "Tom Melton's Draft Blog," which cited band members who performed at Sunday's game, Raiola "repeatedly" called one band member a derogatory name and allegedly taunted others about their weight, calling tuba players "fat (bleeps)" and, at one point, saying, "Hey, fat guy, you want a hot dog?"
The Lions released a statement saying they would investigate the incident.
"I didn't hear that personally on the field," Schwartz said. "No other coaches did. I think Ryan Clady Womens Jersey we've already released a statement that we're going to look into it as an organization. I'd be very disappointed if that as the case, because that's certainly not the character that we want to display."
Leckrone said he did not hear Raiola's comments first hand, but several band members relayed what was said and "were quite shaken by it."
Lekrone said the incident allegedly happened when he was near midfield on the Packers' sideline and the band was standing at attention near the north end zone preparing to finish its pregame show with the national anthem.
Lekrone said he's not aware of any staff members who heard the exchange, either, and he said he does not have audio or video of the incident.
"As far as I've been able to ascertain . our band was in the end zone preparing to finish our pregame show with the Star Spangled Banner and several of them were verbally abused, assaulted, however you'd like to put it, by a player from the Detroit Lions," Lekrone said.
"To their credit, I was really pleased www.nflbroncosofficialstore.com/18_peyton_manning_jersey_cheap with the way the band handled the situation. If I'm a 115 pound clarinet player, I don't think I would do anything different. But they handed themselves very well and did what they were supposed to do, focused on their part of the performance."
The Lions, in their statement Monday, said reports of what Raiola said "are extremely inconsistent with the standard of behavior we expect from our players and from every member of our organization."
Lions safety Louis Delmas apologized to the band after Raiola's comments and "added that he enjoyed their performance," according to the report.
Raiola, whose brother, Donovan, played football at Wisconsin, has been fined at www.nflbroncosofficialstore.com/78_ryan_clady_jersey_cheap least twice before by the Lions for inappropriate conduct toward fans.
In 2008, he was fined $7,500 for giving the middle finger to hecklers at Ford Field. Two years later, he was fined $15,000 for giving Dolphins fans a vulgar directive after a Lions win in Miami.