A day after apologizing for making offensive remarks to members of the University of Wisconsin March Band last Sunday in Green Bay, Detroit Lions center Dominic Raiola denied using a gay slur during the incident.
The remarks were made before the Lions lost to the Packers at Lambeau Field Oct. 6. The exchange was made public by band member Zack York on Facebook earlier this week.
York, one of a dozen band members who allegedly heard the comments, claims Raiola called him a "f-g."
"...he went off on a verbal tirade, among other things, questioning my sexuality (as a band member) and then continued on to bring my sister and my recently deceased mother into the conversation," York posted.
Raiola now says the accusations are distorted.
"That definitely was inaccurate, and that's all I'm going to say," Raiola said Wednesday. "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 comments allegedly continued at halftime, as Raiola called tuba players "fat f--ks," jeeringly asking if they were hungry for hotdogs.
Tuesday, Raiola admitted to his role in the incident, but did not mention specific remarks.
"My interaction with the Wisconsin Marching Band was inappropriate," Raiola said Tuesday in a statement. "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."
York also said the former University of Nebraska lineman threatened to "shove his trumpet up his sister's p---y."
According to Lions Coach Jim Schwartz, the team has conducted an internal investigation but would not say whether the team determined if Raiola made a homophobic remark.
Monday, Schwartz said he did not hear the comments but would be "very disappointed...because that's certainly not the character we want to display."
In addition to Tuesday's apology, Raiola agreed to make a sizable contribution to the UW band.
There has been no word from the NFL about whether it will take disciplinary action against Raiola, who's no stranger to verbal altercations with fans.
In 2008, Raiola was fined $7,500 after making an inappropriate gesture at Lions fans. Another gesture and a verbal altercation with fans in Miami cost him $15,000 in 2010.
Raiola, 34, was a second-round draft pick in 2001. At 6-feet, 1-inch and 295 pounds, he has spent his entire career with the Lions. His younger brother, Donovan, was a lineman at the University of Wisconsin and played briefly for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2010.
Detroit (3-2, First in the NFC North) was beaten 22-9 Sunday, marking the club's 23rd straight loss at Lambeau Field. The Lions face the Browns this Sunday in Cleveland.