Sportsmanship May Not Always be at its Finest

The way that Athletes conduct themselves is of a certain degree of importance when considering the overall effect his or her behavior can have on the team, as well as the arena in which the sporting event is being held. In Dominic Raiola’s case he was one of the athletes who wasn’t able to maintain appropriate behavior on the field, and this has apparently been a character trait that has defined Raiola since 2008. Yesterday, Raiola was accused of verbally abusing some of the Wisconsin band members, who were there to support the Green Bay Packers against the Detroit Lions. The occurrence happened before the start of the national anthem, which demonstrates the complete lack of self-control shown by Raiola before he even stepped onto the field. This type of conduct is something that disturbs me. It is this type of behavior that puts sports in a light that they shouldn’t be shown in. This football game was supposed to be a battle between Detroit and Wisconsin, not a scandal about how certain band members were verbally abused by Dominic Raiola. There was no need for him to take out his “pre-game anxiety”, or even anger, on the band members who were there solely to perform their duty, which is what was done in the end. The band members reported the incident to Michael Leckrone, the director of the bands at Wisconsin, following the conclusion of the pregame show. According to an article on ESPN, Michael Rothstein writes that the band members were allegedly shaken and disturbed by what had occurred. The exact words that were spoken by Raiola are not specifically mentioned in the article, but Leckrone describes them as abusive and “certainly not something that you would expect from somebody who is a professional”. I agree with Leckrone completely. If someone has the opportunity to compete in the NFL then I can easily say that that person should not offend other people who are occupying the same space on the field. Whether or not that person is another football player or a band member is of little importance, considering that the manner in which someone conducts themselves should be the same in either situation. Football is a sport meant for tailgating, cheering, and acceptance, whether that involves accepting a win or a loss. It was created for fans who at least attempt to show good sportsmanship, and when they don’t it is normally off of the field. The fact that Raiola started off the game on a wrong foot probably affected all of the other players on the Detroit Lions team as well. Wisconsin’s band is going to file a complaint against Raiola, which wouldn’t be the first one that he has received. In 2008 he was fined $7,500 when he made a gesture at Lion’s fans after another loss in the 2008 season. One would think that Raiola would attempt to change his ways after disappointing not only fans, but his coach as well. In 2010 Raiola was fined $15,000 for a “verbal altercation with a fan in Miami that also included an obscene gesture”, according to ESPN writer Michael Rothstein. Jim Schwartz, coach of the Detroit Lions, said that he is going to address the issue, but whether or not any actual discipline was going to be enforced was not stated. The behavior of Raiola is certainly not something that I want to hear about from any team in the NFL. Hopefully his actions won’t cause a chain reaction, but will instead lead to a better awareness of ones behavior when on the field.


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