Wednesday, October 19, 2011
Man sorry for slapping Devin Hester
The man who slapped Devin Hester on the back of his head at a Des Plaines, Ill., casino apologized Wednesday and offered to donate money to a charity of the Chicago Bears star's choice and perform community service.
Daniel Rago, 52, of Mount Prospect, Ill., was charged after slapping the back of Hester's head while the receiver was in a cash transaction line Friday night at Rivers Casino.
"Rago comes up from behind and slaps Mr. Hester with an open hand and walks away," Des Plaines Police Chief Jim Prandini said Tuesday. "Mr. Hester turned around and notified casino security. The offender was escorted to a security office and we were contacted. We were able to review the incident on video, and that verified the facts as stated by Mr. Hester."
Rago told Fox Chicago that he didn't know it was Hester and said he was wrong for touching him.
"We were all waiting in line. We were all happy, we won a little bit of money and all of a sudden the gentleman in front of me walked over two tellers to the left," Rago said. "I said 'Excuse me, these two elderly people were in front of you.' And that person replied, 'They waved me up.' I'm like, 'No, the next person in line should have went to the left.'
"No response after that, so I went over to the left of him and as a father would reprimand a kid, not saying he's a kid but a young man, and I just gave him a biff on the back of the head. And I was wrong for doing that. Nothing justifies another person hitting or touching another person. It's wrong on my part."
Rago, who has a Dec. 1 court date, said he was trying to stand up for the two elderly people in line with him.
"I was trying to defend the defenseless because they were elderly and they were not going to speak up to a young man," Rago said. "I felt that I'm just a fairness type of guy, and so I took that into my own thought process, which was totally wrong."
Rago, who said he is a big Bears fan, wants to make it up to Hester.
"Devin, if you're listening and if you can see me here, I am so, so sorry," Rago said. "I'm the bad guy here, and I apologize. I'm going to ask you right now, I will donate $500 to the charity of your choice and 20 hours of community service on your behalf. I messed up."
Rago, who said he "did not have one drink" Friday night at the casino, didn't know it was Hester until he was released from the police interrogation room and saw the complaint signed by Hester.
Two days later, Rago and his brother had end zone seats to watch Hester score two touchdowns during the Bears' 39-10 victory over the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday night. Hester was named NFC special teams player of the week on Wednesday.
ESPNChicago.com's Roman Modrowski contributed to this report.