NFL player Raiola fined $7,500 for outburst

DETROIT – The stress of staring 0-16 in the face is more than beginning to take a toll on the Detroit Lions coaching staff and players.This past week, center Dominic Raiola flipped the bird to some heckling fans after the Minnesota Vikings spanked them on Dominic’s home field 20-16.

This isn’t the first time a player got agitated with the fans and responded with a quick flick of the middle one but what happened afterward is a first as far as I can remember. The following day, instead of apologizing, the frustrated player found a few cameras and further challenged whatever few Lions die-hards may be around to fisticuffs.

“I don’t take one thing back,” Raiola said. “I’ll say the same thing to a fan that I see in the street. I wish I could give my address out to some fans. But, you know, I can’t. Nobody plays with fists. Everybody wants to play with metal. So I can’t. I’m so frustrated. 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 it anymore.”

I feel Dominic’s pain. I have watched the Lions for years and this is a man that shows up most every Sunday. This is an example how stress is becoming a dominating factor in that locker room. To direct comments like that to fans who dig hundreds of dollars out of their pockets to buy tickets to witness a product as sorry as the Lions is unacceptable.

The in-your-face ensemble of sportswriters on Around the Horn took up the topic. J.A. Adande started out dissing Raiola, “Not only should he apologize, he should be buying tickets for these fans”.

That would have been a little bit cheaper than the $7,500 Raiola was fined by the team late Tuesday afternoon.

This week Rod Marinelli continued to add to his collection of weirdest comments in a press conference when he said, “I believe in the invisible”. Jay Mariotti responded, “His team has been invisible all year, he’s about one step away from a straight-jacket.”

I share your sentiments, Mariotti. I wrote an article two weeks ago called ‘Marinelli losing it . . . literally’.

In that article I shared some press conference remarks the struggling coach had made with the media and how the stress was taking a serious toll.

The latest word in Detroit is, there are so many empty seats in the stands, the players can hear the fans yelling insults while they are in the huddle.

I called my brother during the second quarter of the Thanksgiving Day Massacre against the Titans and the stadium was so quiet, we were able to hold a regular conversation. In fact, it was noisier in the airport pub I was sitting in and I had to shield my ears from the wall-to-wall laughter as the Titans trotted down the field, untouched for yet another score.

Raiola and Marinelli are best off to play through the rest of another wasted season and become a part of history . . . 0-16 history.

Copyright © 2008 – Sports Climax

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