John M. Becker

Detroit Lions Investigating Player Who Allegedly Used Anti-Gay Slur

Filed By John M. Becker | October 07, 2013 6:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Living
Tags: Detroit Lions, football, Green Bay Packers, harassment, marching band, NFL

dominic_raiola.jpgThe Detroit Lions are investigating allegations that center Dominic Raiola verbally abused members of the University of Wisconsin Marching Band before last Sunday's game at Lambeau Field in Green Bay.

The controversy started when Zach York, a trumpet player in the UW Marching Band, wrote on Facebook last night about a nasty encounter he and other band members allegedly had with Raiola:

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. 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.

According to blogger Tom Melton, multiple UW band members heard Raiola denigrating students with the slur "fag" before and during their pregame performance. They also allege that Raiola called the tuba players "fat motherf***ers," similarly fat-shamed a trombone player, and hurled sexually graphic insults about York's sister.

The band members say Raiola's verbal assaults were completely unprovoked.

The Green Bay Packers went on to decisively defeat the Lions, 22-9.

For their part, Lions officials responded to the allegations with the following statement:

"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."

The team and other press reports note that Raiola has harassed fans in the past: in 2010, the Lions fined him $15,000 for telling Dolphins fans in Miami to perform a sexual act on him. During a 2008 home game in which the Lions lost to the Minnesota Vikings, Raiola flipped off hecklers and was fined $7,500.

Shame on Raiola, who I'm sure felt like a big tough man as he bullied all those college students. If their allegations are substantiated, the Lions had better throw the book at this scumbag, because he clearly hasn't learned his lesson thus far.

Image via Wide World of Stuff.

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