Lions Aware of Dominic Raiola Report


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Detroit Lions center Dominic Raiola has been accused of verbally harassing a college marching band during pre-game warm ups on Sunday, and Lions officials say they're aware of the reports.

The incident occurred prior to Sunday's game between the Lions and the Green Bay Packers. Members of the University of Wisconsin marching band, who were at Lambeau Field for their annual performance at a Packers game, said Raiola hurled obscene and homophobic comments at them during pre-game warm ups.

"My kids were standing in the end zone, waiting to perform, when they were subjected to some pretty strong verbal abuse" said Michael Leckrone, band director at the University of Wisconsin.

Tuba player Zach York posted more details about Raiola's verbal harassment on his Facebook page.

The Lions released an official statement in response to the allegations on Monday:

“We are aware of the reports involving Dominic Raiola and the University of Wisconsin Marching Band," the statement said. "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.”

The Lions Twitter feed has remained relatively silent on the situation, posting a single tweet quoting head coach Jim Schwartz:

According to Jennifer Hammond of Detroit's Fox 2 News, Raiola isn't helping matters with his statements about the incident:

Originally hailing from Honolulu, Hawaii, Raiola played football at the University of Nebraska and was picked by the Lions in the second round of the 2001 NFL Draft. He has played for the team ever since.

This isn't the first time Raiola has landed in the spotlight for unprofessional and unsportsmanlike behavior. The Lions fined him $7,500 in 2008 for flipping off a fan, and then hit him with a $15,000 fine for making obscene comments to fans in 2010.

Leckrone said he was proud of how his students responded to the incident. "To their credit, they just stood there and did what they were supposed to do, which is focus on their performance."

Credit is also due to Lions safety Louis Delmas who, according to NFL Draft blogger Tom Melton, apologized to band members for Raiola's behavior and told them he had enjoyed their performance.

Image via Wikimedia Commons