“There’s always, when you’re on the road there’s hostile environments, fans say a lot of things,’’ coach Jim Schwartz said in his Monday press conference. “We need to stay above stuff like that. I didn’t hear that personally on the field, no other coaches did.’’
Raiola told Fox 2’s Jennifer Hammond the story was blown “way out of proportion.’’
He also told Hammond: “We’ve got more important things to worry about right now ... We’re worried about wins and losses.’’
According to the Tom Melton Scouting blog Raiola and the Lions were on the field in pregame warmups when he turned around and called tuba players “fat (expletive)” and told them “they sucked.”
From the blog, Raiola was yelling at a band member saying, “Hey fat guy, you want a hot dog?’’ Plus allegedly several profanity-laced insults.
Also from the blog a band member said Raiola made comments insulting his sexuality, his sister and his recently deceased mother.
“I’d be very disappointed if that was the case because that’s certainly not the character we want to display,’’ Schwartz said.
Some of the comments were allegedly made just before the band played the national anthem.
Schwartz said he’s not sure where Raiola lined up for the anthem.
“... I’d be surprised if that happened in those circumstances, but we’re going to look into it, if it did happen we’d be very disappointed in that behavior,’’ Schwartz said.
The team issued this 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 blog reports that Raiola was not provoked and that his teammate Louis Delmas apologized to the band and told them he enjoyed their performance.
If reports are true this is not the first instance of Raiola interacting with fans in a negative fashion. In December 2010 he was fined $15,000 by the Lions for taunting a fan in Miami after a Lions’ win.
In December 2008 he was fined $7,500 by the team for making an obscene gesture toward fans at Ford Field after a loss dropped the Lions to 0-13. Raiola’s brother Donovan played football at Wisconsin.
The veteran center played in his 193rd career game on Sunday.