The Buffalo Bills released Matt Araiza two days after the filing of a civil suit alleging the rookie punter and two former San Diego State teammates gang raped a minor in 2021.
The Bills announced the move amid a mountain of scrutiny about when the team was made aware of the allegations against Araiza and what diligence had been done regarding the litigation he was facing.
The attorney representing now-former Bills punter Matt Araiza says death threats have been a result of the allegations against him.
“He and his family do not wish to speak at this time. All of us are getting numerous death threats, and they are going to all lay low for a while,” Araiza’s attorney, Kerry Armstrong, said.
The accuser’s attorney, Dan Gilleon, said he informed the Bills of the accusations at the end of July.
Gilleon said in a statement after Araiza’s release, “It was a no-brainer decision to cut Matt Araiza. It was just as easy a decision last week not to select him, at least not without conducting a legitimate investigation into the allegations. The Buffalo Bills ignored us, as though what I warned them would happen could be avoided if they just kept their heads in the sand. This is what enablers do. My client’s life was forever scarred in October 2021, but she handled herself with grace and dignity. Not once did she express to me a desire to hurt her assaulters out of revenge or hatred. She never asked for a pound of flesh. Her only ask was the kind of justice that might save other young women from the hell she experienced.”
A sixth-round pick by Buffalo who earned the nickname “Punt God” during his college career with the Aztecs, Araiza was accused in a civil suit earlier this week of raping a woman during his junior season at San Diego State. Two former teammates during that season, Zavier Leonard and Nowlin “Pa’a” Ewaliko, were also named in the litigation.
The lawsuit specifically states, “During the early morning hours of Sunday, October 17, 2021, Defendants Araiza, Leonard, and Waliko gang-raped Doe, then a 17 year-old minor, inside the Residence during a Halloween party.”
It goes on to detail that Araiza handed her a drink that “not only contained alcohol, but other intoxicating substances.” Araiza then allegedly took the girl to the side of the yard and “told her to perform oral sex on him.” After oral sex was performed, it then details the two had sex.
The lawsuit then claims that Araiza took the girl into the house and into a bedroom, where “at least three other men” were. He then threw her on the bed face down. While on the bed it claims that she “went in and out of consciousness while she was being raped.” The suit claims she was “raped for about an hour and a half until the party was shut down.”
It then concludes that she “stumbled out of the room bloody and crying. Her nose, belly button, and ear piercings had been pulled out, she was also bleeding from her vagina.”