Lions’ Raiola apologizes to Wisconsin band


ALLEN PARK, Mich. — Detroit Lions center Dominic Raiola apologized to Wisconsin’s marching band Tuesday for inappropriate comments made to band members before Sunday’s game against the Green Bay Packers.

Raiola also is said to have made a “significant” donation to the band’s fund.

Raiola My interaction with the Wisconsin Marching Band was inappropriate. I apologize to those I offended along with all of the members of Wisconsin’s Marching Band. I also apologize to the Lions’ organization and my teammates.

— Dominic Raiola

“My interaction with the Wisconsin Marching Band was inappropriate,” Raiola said. “I apologize to those I offended along with all of the members of Wisconsin’s marching band. I also apologize to the Lions’ organization and my teammates.

“I understand the standards to which we should conduct ourselves, and my actions Sunday fell dramatically short of those standards.”

In a statement, Lions president Tom Lewand said Raiola will not face further disciplinary action. Lewand apologized to the Wisconsin band Monday.

“After investigating the matter and discussing Sunday’s events with Dominic, we are pleased that he has taken ownership of his actions and admitted those actions were wrong and unacceptable,” Lewand said. “As we said yesterday, his actions were not reflective of the standard of behavior that we expect from any player or any member of our organization.”

On Monday, coach Jim Schwartz said if the then-reports of Raiola’s conduct were true, he would be “very disappointed if that was the case, because that’s certainly not the character we want to display.”

Raiola has had other incidents with fans in stadiums.

In 2008, he was fined $7,500 after making a gesture at Lions fans after a loss that dropped the team to 0-13. In 2010, he was fined $15,000 for a verbal altercation in Miami with a fan, including an obscene gesture.

Sunday’s incident occurred just before the Wisconsin band played the national anthem.

“Basically, they were verbally assaulted by a member of the Detroit Lions team,” Wisconsin director of bands Michael Leckrone told ESPN.com on Monday. “To their credit, they just stood there and did what they were supposed to do, which is focus on their performance.

“I think they were a little bit shaken by it, and they reported it to me after the conclusion of the pregame show and we were back in our seats.”

Detroit lost at Green Bay for the 23rd straight time Sunday.

  • Previously covered University of Michigan for ESPN.com and AnnArbor.com
  • Also covered Notre Dame for Fort Wayne Journal Gazette

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