Detroit Lions center Dominic Raiola is in hot water after he allegedly verbally assaulted members of the University of Wisconsin’s marching band during Sunday’s game against the Green Bay Packers.
The incident allegedly occurred as Raiola and his Lions teammates performed their pregame warm-ups. Zach York, a member of the University of Wisconsin marching band, described the scene in a Facebook post.
“Dominic Raiola is literally the worst person I have ever had the fortune to encounter,” York wrote in the Facebook post. “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. After our halftime show, the same fine gentleman called a female member of the band the “c” word [sic].”
NFL writer Tom Melton shed further light on Raiola’s apparent altercation with the UW marching band. “According to a Wisconsin tuba player, 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------‘ and told them that ‘they sucked,’” Melton wrote. Raiola allegedly directed homophobic slurs at the tuba player, and told him that he “was going to take his trumpet and shove it up his sister’s p----.”
The tuba player stressed that the Wisconsin band hadn’t done anything to provoke Raiola. Melton added that Lions safety Louis Delmas had apologized for Raiola’s comments, and told the marching band that he had “enjoyed their performance.” His entire account of the incident can be viewed here.
On Monday morning, Lions officials released a statement addressing Raiola’s alleged comments, the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reports. “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.”