Detroit Lions  


Frustrated Raiola doesn't regret gesture toward Lions fans

  • By Associated Press
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ALLEN PARK, Mich. -- Detroit center Dominic Raiola says he has no remorse for making an obscene gesture toward Lions fans because their heckling went too far.

Raiola told a reporter, who extended a middle finger during her question, that he didn't regret his actions toward fans Sunday during a 20-16 loss to Minnesota.

Dominic Raiola, C
Detroit Lions

Height: 6-1
Weight: 295
Experience: 8
Games started: 105

"I don't take one thing back," he said Monday.

NFL spokesman Randall Liu said the league will look into the incident.

Raiola said fans have been particularly hard on him because he's been with the team since 2001, when it started a slide that has become the NFL's worst eight-season stretch in more than a half-century.

"I'm just tired of hearing it coming at just me," Raiola said. "It's coming at me because I've been here for years. I've been through the losing. Me, Jeff (Backus) and whoever else are the head of the losing."

The Lions (0-13) have lost 20 of their last 21 and are 31-94 since 2001, falling to the league's poorest winning percentage (.248) over an eight-season stretch since 1950.

"I'm just so frustrated," Raiola said. "I'm tired of being a doormat for people to just talk to us how they want to talk to us. I'm just not going to put up with that anymore."

Raiola wishes he could give some fans his home address.

"I'd do that, but you can't," he said. "Nobody plays with fists. Everybody wants to play with metal."

The NFL has fined players for making similar gestures this season and in past years, such as 2006 when Atlanta quarterback Michael Vick extended both middle fingers toward fans at a home game.

Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Farrior was fined $7,500 this season for making an obscene gesture toward Cleveland Browns fans. Farrior said he was upset because fans were celebrating a minor injury to a teammate.

St. Louis Rams lineman Richie Incognito made an obscene gesture to a TV cameraman during practice this year and encouraged hecklers while cupping his hands to his ears as he left a game.

San Francisco kicker Joe Nedney was fined $7,500 last year for making an obscene gesture toward fans at home.

In his final season, Vick was fined $10,000 by the NFL and agreed to donate another $10,000 for making an obscene gesture with both hands toward fans.

Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press


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