NFL Blogger: Lions’ center Raiola accused of hate speech

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GREEN BAY (WITI) -- NFL blogger Tom Melton has written a blog that indicates Detroit Lions center Dominic Raiola spewed hate speech at some members of the University of Wisconsin marching band prior to Sunday's game at Lambeau Field.

According to the blog, "Raiola and his teammates were engaged in their pregame warm-ups on the field near the goal line when he turned around and called him and the other tubas “Fat mother f**kers” and told them that “they sucked.” According to that tuba player no one in the band had done anything to provoke him, and no other band members I spoke with witnessed anything that could have provoked Raiola."

That blogger says witnesses say Raiola yelled at the tuba player: "Hey fat guy, you want a hot dog?" -- and a female band member says he called her a derogatory expletive.

UW Marching Band trumpet player Zach York of Muskego posted this message on Facebook:

"Dominic Raiola is literally the worst person I have ever had the fortune to encounter. 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."

The UW Marching Band's director on Monday said: We'll handle this administratively -- draft a letter or something. They were quite shaken by it. To their credit, they did what they were supposed to be doing. They stood at attention."

The Detroit Lions issued the following statements in relation to this reported incident.

  • “We are aware of the reports involving Dominic Raiola and the University of Wisconsin Marching Band.
  • “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.”

Melton said towards the end of his post, "It is worth noting that while Raiola’s comments were completely uncalled for, a band member confirmed to me that Lions safety Louis Delmas apologized to him and other members of the band for Raiola’s actions and assured them that he had spoken with him about it."

UW-Madison issued the following statement:

"We were dismayed to hear reports of unprofessional and personal verbal attacks by a Detroit Lions player towards members of the University of Wisconsin Marching Band before the Packers vs. Lions game at Lambeau Field on Sunday, Oct. 6.

Earlier (Monday), we received a call from Lions president Tom Lewand. He has apologized for the actions of his player and has assured us that further discussion will take place. We appreciate the Lions' efforts to investigate this further and are grateful to Mr. Lewand for his concern.

Special opportunities such as playing before a Packers game are highlights for our band members: something they look forward to, and that we hope they will remember with pride. We are proud of the way members of the UW Band have brought this matter to our attention, and how they kept their focus on providing a great experience for the fans at Lambeau Field."

An affiliate of FOX6 spoke with Raiola on Monday. He says the incident "is being blown out of proportion," and added, "we've got more important things to worry about right now. We're worried about wins and losses."

CLICK HERE to read more from Melton's blog

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