Buffalo general manager Brandon Beane released the team’s decision for the rookie to handle the allegations against him.
The Buffalo Bills released punter Matt Araiza two days after a civil lawsuit was filed accusing him and two other current and former San Diego State football players of gang rape of a minor.
Araiza was not in practice this Saturday after being excluded from Friday’s preseason game against the Carolina Panthers and was not on the bench during the game or in the locker room after the game ended. He flew back to Buffalo on the team plane.RELATED
At Friday’s postgame news conference, head coach Sean McDermott declined to comment on Araiza’s condition or what exactly the team knew before the lawsuit was filed. McDermott said he had obtained “new” information in the 24 hours since the lawsuit was filed, but would not comment on whether he felt Araiza had lied to him or the team.
“It’s a matter of trying to find the truth at the end of the day, right?” McDermott said. “That’s the goal, to find the truth and do the right thing. And that’s what I keep coming back to in my mind and in my heart, to find out the truth as best I can and do the right thing.”
Rookie punter Matt Araiza was recently charged with gang rape. Getty Images
In a statement issued Thursday, the team said “a thorough examination of this matter has been conducted.”
The lawsuit alleges that Araiza, who was 21 at the time, had sex with a then-17-year-old high school senior, under the age of consent in California, outside an off-campus party held in California. her residence in the early morning hours of Oct. 17, 2021. Afterwards, the lawsuit states, Araiza took her inside the house, where at least three other men were present, including the other two men named in the lawsuit: Zavier Leonard , a redshirt fresham from the Aztecs, and Nowlin Ewaliko, who is no longer with the program. According to the lawsuit, she was repeatedly raped for about an hour and a half.
Araiza’s criminal attorney, Kerry Armstrong, told ESPN that her client spoke to the woman at the party, but the rape allegations are “simply false.”
Armstrong also indicated that it is his understanding that Araiza did not inform the Bills about the matter until after an LA Times article, published on June 3, reported that the rape allegations against five Aztecs football players had not been investigated by the Bills. San Diego State.
McDermott declined to say when the Bills found out about the allegations.
A criminal investigation into the alleged events is underway, as well as an investigation by San Diego State under the policies of the California State University System.
The NFL said in a statement that it was aware of the incident but declined to comment. Because the alleged violation occurred before Araiza was drafted, he would not be subject to the league’s personal conduct policy.
The Bills released punter Matt Haack, who played with the team in 2021, on Monday, naming Araiza the team’s punter for the 2022 season. He was the only punter on the team’s roster, that forced quarterback Matt Barkley to punt four times for the Bills in the game against the Panthers.
Araiza was drafted by the Bills in the sixth round of the 2022 draft.