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Detroit Lions Football Player Denies Using Anti-Gay Slur During Marching Band Tiff

by Jason St. Amand
National News Editor
Friday Oct 11, 2013
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Detroit Lions center Dominic Raiola
Detroit Lions center Dominic Raiola   (Source:AP Photo)

Dominic Raiola, a center for the Detroit Lions, said on Wednesday that he did not use an anti-gay slur towards members of a college marching band during an incident that occurred last Sunday during a game with the Green Bay Packers, USA Today reports.

Earlier this week it was reported members of the University of Wisconsin marching band accused Raiola of verbally assaulting them with anti-gay and other derogatory remarks, where he allegedly called one female member of the band the "c-world." He also allegedly called several members of the band "fat motherfuckers" and that he questioned one of the member’s sexuality.

In his first public appearance since the incident, Raiola admits he was there was some arguing with the band but did not explain further, USA Today reports. In a statement he issued Tuesday, he apologized for the incident and said he plans to make "a significant contribution" to the marching band.

"It’s pretty much behind us now," Raiola said. "I bet there was probably 95% of them that we were jawing a little bit back and forth, and probably the other 5 didn’t, maybe a couple people didn’t like it and kind of went far. I said what I needed to say yesterday, and my mind shifted to Cleveland yesterday. I don’t know how accurate all those reports were, but I’m not going to go on and bring it back up again and make it fresh. It’s behind us, and we’re moving on to Cleveland."

Zack York, a member of the band, took to Facebook to write about the incident and said Raiola questioned his sexuality, but the athlete denies he made anti-gay remarks.

"That definitely was inaccurate, and that’s all I’m going to say," Raiola said. "If you can’t come to me and prove to me what was said with a video or a recording or something like that, obviously, it’s somebody sitting in a college dorm and it got blown up. The director agreed: It got blown way out of proportion."

Lions’ coach Jim Schwartz did not say if there was an internal investigation to find out if Raiola used any anti-gay language, but said, "I think Dom did a good job of apologizing and also doing his best to rectify the situation and, hopefully, a positive can come out of a negative situation, That’s probably about all that I’m going to say about it.

"It wasn’t the situation that we wanted. We already released a statement with it, but I think he did a good job yesterday of putting that behind our team and putting it in the past, and we’re going to leave it there and move on," he said.

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