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A roundup of news on sporting events, people and places in Southeast Michigan by columnist Jim Evans.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Can the tuba section play Taps for Raiola's career?

I’m a former marching band member. I say that proudly.
I’m also a former high school football player and an ex-college lacrosse player. I say that proudly, too.
For a lot of reasons, I take offense at what the Lions’ Dominic Raiola said to members of the tuba section of the outstanding University of Wisconsin marching band that played at Lambeau Field Sunday.
According to the Tom Melton Scouting blog Raiola and the Lions were on the field in pre-game warm-ups 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 he hurled several other profanity-laced insults.

“Basically, they were verbally assaulted by a member of the Detroit Lions team," Wisconsin director of bands Michael Leckrone told "To their credit, they just stood there and did what they were supposed to do, which is focus on their performance. I think they were a little bit shaken by it, and they reported it to me after the conclusion of the pregame show and we were back in our seats."
On Monday, Lions’ head coach Jim Schwartz said that he’d “be very disappointed if that was the case because that’s certainly not the character we want to display.”
Consider yourself disappointed, coach. Raiola has since belatedly apologized to the band.
"My interaction with the Wisconsin Marching Band was inappropriate," Raiola said. "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."
The Lions lost at Green Bay for the 23rd straight time Sunday.
I played the trumpet, not the tuba. I really didn’t march at many games because I was playing football. But I had a lot of friends in the marching band. And I had a lot of friends on the team.
None of those football teammates said anything akin to what the foul-mouthed Raiola said.
Raiola is a jerk. I don’t know him personally, but from afar no one in the NFL has talked more for less reason. He is constantly yapping.
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.
Berating a marching band member. Belittling college kids who worked hard to make the prestigious University of Wisconsin marching band.
And this guy is a team captain?
Maybe it’s time for the tuba section to gather and play “Taps” for Raiola’s mediocre career.


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