Shutdown Corner - NFL

A heckler at the Lions/Vikings game (as if anyone but hecklers show up at Lions games anymore) was on the receiving end of a middle finger from Lions center Dominic Raiola on Sunday.

No one knows precisely what was said, but Raiola's story is that the heckler went too far, and thus, he makes no apology for showing the guy his naughty phalange.

In fact, if there wasn't a chance that the man was a gun owner, Raiola would like to ball his five fingers together and use them to strike that gentleman in the face:

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

Sadly, he's right. No one listens to Mr. Jones from Friday anymore. Put up your dukes. These are all you need.

Without knowing what was said, it's hard to pick a side here. Going on past middle-finger precedent, Raiola's probably going to be fined, though I certainly wouldn't use that as a barometer of right and wrong.

Obviously, Lions fans have reason to complain, heckle and express dismay in any way they'd choose. But at the same time, there are lines they can't cross, and I can't blame Raiola if he's a little bit sick of taking a verbal beating in addition to the physical one his team takes every week. It's not his fault that the Lions are the most inept franchise in sports; at least, no more than any other player's:

“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.”

“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.”

Misery, as they say, loves company. And nobody in Detroit is going to be happy until the Lions manage to win a few games. Or even one. Or until football season is over and they can concentrate on the Wings and Pistons.

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