Buffalo Bills release punter Matt Araiza in wake of gang-rape lawsuit

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — The Buffalo Bills have launched punter Matt Araiza two days after a civil lawsuit was filed alleging he and two different present and former San Diego State soccer gamers gang raped a minor.

General supervisor Brandon Beane stated Saturday night time that the choice was made to release Araiza earlier that afternoon. However, coach Sean McDermott stated that Araiza “seemed to understand, and I think when we spoke again this morning, that he agreed that was probably the best thing.”

Araiza was not at follow Saturday after being held out of Friday’s preseason recreation in opposition to the Carolina Panthers and was not on the sideline through the recreation or in the locker room after the sport concluded. He traveled again to Buffalo, N.Y. on the workforce aircraft.

“With the serious nature and allegations and we just can’t, we don’t have the means to put all the facts together,” Beane stated. “There’s multiple versions of what happened and [McDermott’s] a football coach, I’m a GM. We don’t have access to everything, and so that’s more important than playing football. And so, we want Matt to focus on that.”

In a press release launched through the recreation Friday, Araiza stated, “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.”

Beane confirmed that the workforce bought the “boulders” of info from the accuser’s aspect when the workforce’s assistant common counsel Kathryn D’Angelo spoke to Jane Doe’s lawyer, Dan Gilleon, in late July. During that decision, Beane stated, Gilleon “laid out some of the things that, they were accusing Matt and others of.”

“Doing the best we could with our resources, talking to the league, using our people to try and find information,” Beane stated of the workforce’s investigation. “But ultimately, there’s a lot of things that we have not pieced together even today. We’re just trying to do the best we could and be thoughtful and not rush to judgement.”

Only the one dialog was had with the accuser’s illustration and Beane. When requested if the accuser’s phrases had been sufficient for the workforce, Beane stated that they had been “trying not to rush to judgment and obviously Matt’s version was different and you want to give everyone as much due process as you can. Again, we’re not a judge and a jury.”

In a press release launched Thursday, the workforce stated they “conducted a thorough examination of this matter.” Beane stated Saturday that they most likely ought to have described the examination as “ongoing” because it wasn’t accomplished.

The lawsuit alleges that Araiza, who was 21 on the time, of having intercourse with a then-17-year outdated highschool senior, who was below the age of consent in California, outdoors an off-campus occasion held at his residence in the early morning of October 17, 2021. Later, the go well with claims, Araiza then introduced her inside the house, the place not less than three different males, together with the opposite two defendants named in the go well with, Zavier Leonard, a redshirt freshman with the Aztecs, and Nowlin Ewaliko, who’s not on the workforce’s roster, had been positioned. She was then repeatedly raped for about an hour and a half, and the go well with states that nostril, stomach button and ear piercings had been pulled out through the acts, and she or he was bleeding from her vagina.

Araiza’s legal lawyer, Kerry Armstrong, instructed ESPN that his consumer spoke with the woman on the occasion, however that the rape allegations are “just untrue.”

Armstrong additionally stated that it’s his understanding that Araiza didn’t inform the Bills of this situation till after an L.A. Times article reported that rape allegations in opposition to 5 Aztecs soccer gamers had not been investigated by San Diego State.

Araiza was drafted by the Bills in the sixth spherical of the 2022 NFL draft. Beane stated that they’ve reached out to double-digit groups and “no one had anything on this.”

A legal investigation is ongoing into the alleged occasions in addition to an investigation by San Diego State below the California State University systemwide coverage.

The NFL stated in a press release that it was conscious of the incident however declined to remark. Because the alleged rape occurred earlier than Araiza was drafted, he wouldn’t be topic to the league’s private conduct coverage.

The Bills launched punter Matt Haack, the workforce’s punter in 2021, on Monday, naming Araiza the workforce’s punter for the 2022 season. The workforce presently has no punters on the roster. Quarterback Matt Barkley punted 4 instances for the Bills in opposition to the Panthers.

“That’s a tough one. You can second guess whether that was the right move,” Beane stated on the satisfaction with the data gathered on Araiza to release Haack. “We’ll definitely look at that going forward if this situation or similar situation happens.”

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