Bills releases rookie punter Matt Araiza over gang rape allegation in civil lawsuit

Buffalo Bills general manager Brandon Beane announced the rookie bettor on Saturday –Matt Araiza was released, two days after Araiza, along with two other people, were defendant in a civil suit gang-rape of a minor at an off-campus party at San Diego State University last year.

The lawsuit, which was filed Aug. 25 in San Diego County Superior Court, alleges that in October 2021, Araiza had sex with a 17-year-old girl outside an off-campus house. , where Araiza lived, then brought her to a room where she was repeatedly raped. The plaintiff is identified in the lawsuit as “Jane Doe,” as she was a minor at the time, but is now 18, according to the Associated press.

“I would say the last 48 hours have been very difficult for a lot of people,” Bean told reporters on Saturday. “It’s been difficult and we sympathize with this whole situation, all parties involved. This young woman, what she’s been through. You feel really bad for this whole situation, and ultimately it’s a legal situation and we don’t we don’t know all of the facts. That’s what makes it difficult, but right now we just think it’s the best thing to do to get everyone to get away from Matt, and let him be. take care of that situation and focus on that. So we’re going to part ways there.

“I know it’s a matter of when did we hear this or what the timeline was – at the end of July his rep spoke to [Bills assistant general counsel Kathryn D’Angelo] and laid out some of the things they accused Matt and others of. At this time, our process, we tried to be thorough and thoughtful. Don’t rush to judge, and I would say it’s not easy. You try to put facts around a legal situation, sometimes with limited information. So ultimately that’s where we are today with the decision.”

The other two football players named in the lawsuit are Zavier Leonard, currently on San Diego State’s roster, and Nowlin “Pa’a” Ewaliko, who is not on this year’s roster. Araiza became a star punter for the Aztecs as a redshirt junior in 2021, winning the Ray Guy Award as the nation’s top punter. The Bills selected him in the sixth round of the 2022 NFL Draft.

There have been no arrests and San Diego police have not publicly identified any suspects, according to the Associated press.

Araiza, who became Buffalo’s starting punter after the exit of matt hack on August 22, took place outside Friday’s pre-season game against the Carolina Panthers. Speaking to the media after the game, Bills head coach Sean McDermott said it was his decision not to play Araiza, calling the situation “extremely serious” and that the organization will not “not taken lightly at all”.

“It’s just a matter of trying to find the truth at the end of the day, it’s all about finding the truth and doing the right thing,” McDermott said Friday. “And that’s what I keep coming back to in my mind and in my heart is finding out the truth to the best of my ability and doing the right thing.”

Araiza released a statement earlier Friday in which he disputed the details of the trial.

“The facts of the incident are not what they are portrayed in the lawsuit or in the press,” Araiza said in the statement. “I look forward to quickly setting the record straight.”

McDermott’s press conference offered the first comments regarding the team’s Araiza since the club released a statement on Thursday.

“We were recently made aware of a civil complaint involving Matt from October 2021,” the Bills said in the statement. “Due to the seriousness of the complaint, we have conducted a thorough review of this matter. As this is an ongoing civil matter, we will have no further comment at this stage.”

The NFL’s Personal Conduct Policy does not apply to incidents that occur before a player is drafted or joins a team. If criminal charges are filed against Araiza, however, then he will be subject to league investigation and possible disciplinary action, per league policy.

Kerry Armstrong, Araiza’s attorney, denied the rape charge, according to the Los Angeles Times.

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