Lions center Dominic Raiola apologizes to Wisconsin band members

(WXYZ) - Lions center Dominic Raiola issued an apology to the University of Wisconsin marching band and made a donation to the band fund.

Raiola found himself in the center of controversy as members of the band accused him of verbally abusing them.

A report on Tom Melton's NFL Draft Blog detailed a series of abusive comments Raiola allegedly directed at members of the Wisconsin band throughout the time they spent on the field in Green Bay during Sunday's game between the Lions and Packers.

Raiola issued the following apology in a written statement today:

"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."  

Raiola made an undisclosed donation to the Wisconsin Marching Band fund.

Lions president Tom Lewand offered this statement as well:

"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."

When asked about the incident on Monday, Lions head coach Jim Schwartz said, "When you go on the road, there's always hostile environments; fans are saying things. We need to stay above things like that.

"I didn't personally hear that on the field," Schwartz continued. "No other coaches did. I'd be very disappointed if that was the case because that's certainly not the character that we want to display."
Lori Berquam, the University of Wisconsin's dean of students, and band director Mike Leckrone said they heard Monday from Lions President Tom Lewand on Monday.
"He has apologized for the actions of his player and has assured us that further discussion will take place," they said. "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."

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.



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