UPDATE: Lions' Raiola says he didn't use homophobic slur

UPDATE: Detroit Lions center Dominic Raiola says his remarks to the University of Wisconsin band didn

Dominic Raiola

UPDATED Wednesday, October 9, 2013 --- 4:51 p.m.

ALLEN PARK, Mich. (AP) -- Detroit Lions center Dominic Raiola says his remarks to the University of Wisconsin band didn't include a homophobic slur.

Raiola declined to tell reporters Wednesday what he said, adding there's no video or audio evidence.

He apologized in a statement Tuesday, saying he made inappropriate remarks to band members Sunday at Green Bay, where the Wisconsin band performed.

The Lions have said Raiola called band director Michael Leckrone to apologize for his actions and to say he was going to make a "significant donation" to support the band. Raiola declined to say how much money he would donate.

Lions President Tom Lewan said the team would not discipline Raiola because of his response. The NFL has decided it will not issue additional discipline.

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UPDATED Tuesday, October 8, 2013 --- 1:06 p.m.

The Detroit Lions have sent the following statements:

Allen Park, Mich.— Earlier this afternoon, Lions C Dominic Raiola had a phone conversation with Michael Leckrone, Director of the University of Wisconsin Marching Band. Raiola apologized to Leckrone for his actions on Sunday that involved band members and also indicated that he was making a significant donation to The Marching Band Fund, which supports Wisconsin’s Marching Band.

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

STATEMENT FROM DETROIT LIONS PRESIDENT TOM LEWAND

“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.

“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.

“We are also pleased that he is supporting his apology with a significant donation to the Wisconsin Marching Band Fund.

“Due to Dominic’s sincere and appropriate response, there will be no additional disciplinary action by the team.”

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UPDATED Monday, October 7, 2013 --- 3:54 p.m.

Lori Berquam, vice provost for student life and dean of students at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and Mike Leckrone, director of the UW Marching Band, have 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 today, 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."

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Posted Monday, October 7, 2013 --- 2:02 p.m.

From our news partner, WLUK in Green Bay:

GREEN BAY - The Detroit Lions are investigating after a player was accused of making vulgar comments to members of the University of Wisconsin Marching Band before and during Sunday’s Lions-Packers game at Lambeau Field.

According to reports, including a Facebook post by a band member, Lions center Dominic Raiola shouted at band members, using profane words to insult some of the musicians’ weights and their sexuality.

“Those reports are extremely inconsistent with the standard of behavior we expect from our players and from every member of our organization,” read a statement from the Lions organization. “We currently are gathering more information and will respond further when appropriate.”

According to an article on the team’s website, Raiola has been in trouble in the past for his conduct toward fans. In 2010, the team fined him $15,000 for using obscene words and a hand gesture toward a fan in Miami. Two years earlier, he was fined $7,500 for inappropriate conduct toward fans during a loss to the Minnesota Vikings in Detroit.

Raiola’s brother, Donovan, went to UW-Madison and played football for the Badgers.

The Wisconsin Band traditionally performs at one Packers home game per season. In 2004, the band’s tuba section received national attention when it teased injured Vikings receiver Randy Moss with a message spelled out on the instruments’ bells.

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From our news partner, WITI in Milwaukee:

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.”

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.”

CLICK HERE to read more from Melton’s blog


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