Detroit Lions Football Player Accused of Verbally Assaulting College Marching Band
Members of the University of Wisconsin marching band are accusing Detroit Lions center Dominic Raiola of verbally harassing them with anti-gay and other derogatory remarks during a Sunday game between the Lions and the Green Bay Packers, CBS Sports reports.
According to Tom Melton’s NFL Draft Blog, several members of the marching band said Raiola called them "fat motherfuckers," that he said they suck and that he allegedly used the c-word to refer to one of the female members of the band. Zack York, another member of the marching band, took to Facebook to discuss the incident, saying the athlete even questioned his sexuality.
"Dominic Raiola is literally the worst person I have ever had the fortune to encounter," York wrote. "After marching down the field awaiting the national anthem, He went off on a verbal tirade, among other things, questioning my sexuality (as a band member) and then continued on to bring my sister and my recently deceased mother into the conversation."
"After I refused to give him the satisfaction of turning to look at him, he switched targets to a trombone ranting at him calling him overweight and saying he can’t play a real sport," he continued. "After our halftime show, the same fine gentleman called a female member of the band the ’c’ word."
The blog also reports that Lions’ safety Louis Delmas, apologized to the band for Riola’s behavior.
Officials from the Lions have released a statement regarding the incident.
"We are aware of the reports involving Dominic Raiola and the University of Wisconsin Marching Band," the statement reads. "Those reports are extremely inconsistent with the standard of behavior we expect from our players and from every member of our organization. We currently are gathering more information and will respond further when appropriate."
Coach Jim Schwartz said on Monday that he did not hear Raiola make any remarks to the college band, CBS Sports reports.
"I didn’t hear that personally on the field. No other coaches did," Schwartz said. "I’d be very disappointed if that were the case."
Raiola has been in hot water in the past for his behavior. In 2008 the athlete was fined $7,500 for giving the middle finger to fans, the Detroit Free Press reports. Two years ago, he was smacked with a $15,000 fine for having a verbal altercation with a fan in Miami.