Bills Punter Matt Araiza Cut By Team Amid Rape Allegations
Buffalo Bills Punter Matt Araiza — accused of gang-raping a 17-year-old girl while in college — has been released by the team, the organization announced Saturday.
As TMZ Sports previously reported, 22-year-old Araiza was sued in San Diego County Superior Court earlier this week.
Araiza, nicknamed the “Punt God,” is accused of gang-raping a 17-year-old woman, only identified as “Jane Doe” in the suit, at a Halloween party at his house on October 17, 2021.
The woman, who says she was inebriated upon arriving at the party, says Araiza gave her a drink that she later believed contained “other intoxicating substances.”
Doe claims the two engaged in sexual acts outside of the punter’s home. She says Araiza then led her inside, and threw her onto a bed. She claims he gang raped her with two of his Aztecs teammates — Nowlin “Pa’a” Ewaliko and Zavier Leonard — who are also named as defendants in the lawsuit.
The woman claims the sexual abuse went on for about an hour and a half, before the party was eventually shut down. In the suit she says she “stumbled out of the room bloody and crying.”
Doe is suing Araiza, Ewaliko and Leonard for unspecified damages.
Araiza, shortly after the allegations came to light, adamantly denied the claims, saying … “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.”
The Bills initially issued a statement saying they were aware of the allegations, saying they “conducted a thorough examination,” but couldn’t comment further due to the active suit.
However, after sitting Araiza (the team’s starting P) during Friday night’s preseason game, the Bills, a Super Bowl favorite, announced Saturday afternoon they were parting ways with the league’s most talked about punter.
Buffalo GM Brandon Beane and head coach Sean McDermott briefly met with the media, telling reporters the situation was bigger than football, adding Matt must deal with the serious issue.
As for specifically when the organization learned or the incredibly troubling allegations, Beane said the following.
“I know it’s a question of when did we hear this or what was the timeline — late July from her representative spoke to [Bills attorney Kathryn D’Angelo] and laid out some of the things that they were accusing Matt and others of. At that time, our process, we tried to be thorough and thoughtful. Not rush to judgment, and I would say it’s not easy. You’re trying to put facts around a legal situation, sometimes with limited information. So, ultimately that’s where we’re at today with the decision.”
Araiza was selected in the 6th round of the 2022 NFL Draft … and recently went viral after he boomed an 82-yard punt during his first game.
Araiza has not been arrested or charged with a crime.
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