Bills Release Punter Matt Araiza Following Rape Allegations
Buffalo Bills rookie punter Matt Araiza was released Saturday following the filing of a civil lawsuit accusing him of being involved in a gang rape in 2021, while playing football at San Diego State.
Araiza and two of his former San Diego State Aztecs teammates, Zavier Leonard and Nowlin Ewaliko, were accused of gang-raping a 17-year old at an off-campus Halloween party last fall.
The lawsuit claims the teen showed up to the party drunk and was approached by Araiza who offered her a drink. She believes Araiza may have put other substances in the drink saying that she felt it “not only contained alcohol, but other intoxicating substances,” according to her complaint. She says in the suit that she allegedly told Araiza, who was 21 at the time, that she was a senior in high school.
Following his release, Araiza issued the following statement:
“The facts of the incident are not what they are portrayed in the lawsuit or in the press. I look forward to quickly setting the record straight.”
On Friday, Bills coach Sean McDermott addressed the situation following a preseason loss at Carolina.
“Its a situation that’s extremely serious. Just hard to go through. It’s not a situation that I or we take lightly whatsoever,” he said. “I can tell you this my heart, my thoughts and prayers go out to the people involved. And that includes Matt. It includes both sides here. The victim and everyone involved.”
Araiza spent four years as the punter for the Aztecs at San Diego State. He set the NCAA season record for average punt yardage as a junior. He won the Ray Guy award in 2021 which is presented annually to college football’s most outstanding punter. Araiza was selected in the 6th round by the Buffalo Bills. He won the punting job in training camp over Matt Haack, but now he is no longer in the NFL.
For more on the possible charges he could face, League of Justice has more HERE.