Bills cut punter Matt Araiza after rookie was charged with gang rape in graphic civil lawsuit

The Buffalo Tickets have decided to move from –Matt Araiza. The team informed the rookie punter on Saturday that he was released after filing a civil complaint in California who accused him of rape.

Bills general manager Brandon Beane said the team is struggling to get answers on Araiza, by ESPNand that it was “bigger than football.”

“There’s a lot of stuff we couldn’t get our hands on,” Beane said. “It was about letting Matt deal with his situation.”

The Bills kept Araiza on the bench for Friday pre-season game and kept him out of training on Saturday before making the decision to let him go. After Buffalo’s 21-0 loss to the PanthersBills coach Sean McDermott was asked if Araiza would still be around after Tuesday’s final cuts and at the time he refused to answer the question, perhaps the first sign that the Bills were considering moving on.

“I’m not going to go into specifics right now,” McDermott said, via buffalonews.com. “It’s clear, like I said, it’s clear that we have work to do here and we have to solve this problem.”

The Bills’ decision to release Araiza came after the release of a lawsuit in which the punter is accused of participating in a gang rape of a girl who was just 17 at the time of the alleged incident.

According At the trial, the accuser went to Araiza’s residence near the San Diego State campus for a Halloween party on October 16, 2021. After arriving at the party, the girl said that Araiza gave her something to drink even though she was already drunk. According to the lawsuit, the girl believes the drink “contains not only alcohol, but other intoxicants.” Shortly after, Araiza allegedly had sex with the then high school student, followed by him bringing her to a room where she was repeatedly raped by other people.

Araiza was one of three men named in the lawsuit along with former San Diego State teammates Zavier Leonard and Nowlin “Pa’a” Ewaliko. Although only three people are named, the girl believes she may have been raped by as many as 20 men.

The day after the alleged incident, the girl went to the San Diego Police Department where she told her story and had a rape kit prepared. The SDPD has since submitted its investigation to prosecutors for a review of the rape allegation, the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office told WIVB.com on Friday. Although prosecutors are currently reviewing the case, they have not yet announced whether criminal charges will be filed.

For his part, Araiza said the details of the lawsuit were inaccurate.

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

The bettor’s attorney, Kerry Armstrong, denied all the allegations and even insinuated that the accuser was simply going after Araiza’s money. “It’s a shakedown because he’s now with the Buffalo Bills,” Armstrong said, through the Los Angeles Times. “There is no doubt in my mind that Matt Araiza [never] raped that girl.”

Despite these comments from Araiza’s attorney, there is a potentially damning piece of evidence in the trial. The girl reportedly called Araiza in October as police listened in. During the call, “Araiza confirmed having had sex with [the girl]even telling her she should get tested for STDs,” according to the lawsuit. Given that the girl was only 17 at the time, this could put Araiza in a case of sex with a minor, even though there is no evidence to prove the rest of the allegations.

One thing that’s unclear is when the Bills discovered the allegations. According to athleticsthe team was NOT aware of the rape accusation when it drafted Araiza in April, but was made aware of it at some point in the past month.

The prosecutor’s attorney, Dan Gilleon, told The Athletic that he contacted the Bills in an email on July 31. A day later, he spoke on the phone to someone from the team’s general counsel, but no one from the team has contacted him for almost four weeks.

Araiza, who was selected in the sixth round of the NFL Draft this year, had just officially won the Bills’ punt job over the veteran matt hack this week before being released.

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