Bills cut punter Matt Araiza after rookie accused of gang rape in graphic civil lawsuit – CBS Sports

Bills cut punter Matt Araiza after rookie accused of gang rape in graphic civil lawsuit - CBS Sports

The Buffalo Bills decided to move on from Matt Araiza. The team informed the rookie player Saturday that he was released after a civil suit was filed in California who accused him of rape.

Bills general manager Brandon Beane said the team struggled to get answers about Araiza, via ESPNand that this was “bigger than football.”

“There were a lot of things we couldn’t get to,” Beane said. “This was about letting Matt go handle his situation.”

The Bills kept Araiza on the bench for Friday’s preseason game and held him out of practice 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 final cuts on Tuesday and at the time, he declined to answer the question, which may have been the first sign the Bills were thinking about moving on.

“I won’t go into that now,” said McDermott, via “It’s clear, like I said, it’s clear we have work to do here and figure this thing out.”

The Bills decision to release Araiza came after a lawsuit was released where the pitcher is accused of participating in the gang rape of a girl who was only 17 at the time of the alleged incident.

According to to the trial, the plaintiff went to Araiza’s apartment near the San Diego State campus for a Halloween party on October 16, 2021. After arriving at the party, the girl said Araiza gave her a drink even though she was already drunk . According to the lawsuit, the girl believes that the drink “not only contained alcohol, but other intoxicating substances.” A short time later, Araiza allegedly had sex with the then high school senior, which was followed by him bringing her into a room where she was raped several times by other individuals.

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 filed a rape complaint. The SDPD later submitted its investigation to prosecutors for a review of the rape charge, the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office. said on Friday. Although prosecutors are now reviewing the case, they have not yet announced whether any criminal charges will be filed.

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

“The facts of the incident are not as 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 prosecutor’s lawyer, Kerry Armstrong, denied all the allegations and even suggested that the accuser was simply after Araiza’s money. “It’s a shakeup because he’s with the Buffalo Bills now,” Armstrong said, by the Los Angeles Times. “There’s no doubt in my mind that Matt Araiza [never] raped that girl.”

Despite those comments from Araiza’s lawyer, there is potentially damning evidence in the trial. The girl allegedly called Araiza back in October while police listened. During the call, “Araiza confirmed having sex with [the girl]even telling her that she should be tested for STDs,” according to the lawsuit. Since the girl was only 17 at the time, this could set Araiza up for a charge of having sex with a minor, even if there is no evidence to prove the rest of the charges.

One thing that isn’t clear is when the Bills learned of the allegations. According to to the Athleticthe team did NOT know about the rape allegation when they drafted Araiza in April, but they were aware of it sometime last month.

The plaintiff’s attorney, Dan Gilleon, said The Athletic that he contacted the Bills in an email on July 31. One day later, he spoke to someone from the general counsel of the team on the phone, but no one from the team contacted him in the almost four weeks since then.

Araiza, who was selected in the sixth round of the NFL Draft this year, just officially won the Bills penalty over veteran Matt Haack this week before being released.

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