Dominic Raiola said he didn’t know whether to laugh or get mad when he first heard reports about his interaction with the University of Wisconsin marching band on Sunday at Lambeau Field.
The Lions’ veteran center said the whole situation was blown out of proportion and that he did not use a homophobic slur.
“I don’t speak like that. I have a lot of respect for you know, I have family members that are homophobic, you know that are gay,’’ he said stumbling, seeking the right word. “I have a lot of respect for them.
“I know it’s a different kind of band but I have people in bands I’m best friends with I have a lot of respect for that so I don’t know about all that,’’ Raiola said on Wednesday.
“And my brother went to Wisconsin, maybe somebody said your brother is better than you I don’t know,’’ Raiola said.
He was accused of using profane and homophobic language in a blog after the game. Raiola called the band director and apologized on Tuesday along with making a “significant donation” to the band.
Raiola said he had no idea the banter would become a big deal.
“Not at all. I was actually laughing and joking with them at the end of the game, just talking, having a conversation,’’ Raiola said. “They were right behind our bench. I was actually having a conversation with them after the game. It was cool. I didn’t think twice about it. I was kind of surprised. I didn’t know whether to laugh or get mad when I saw it.’’
The Lions investigated the situation and did not fine him.
Now Raiola wants to put it behind him and concentrate on playing the Browns at Cleveland on Sunday.