Buffalo Bills Release Rookie Punter Matt Araiza After Woman Accuses Him and Two College Teammates of Gang Rape

Matt Araiza during a Bills preseason game on Aug. 13, 2022. (AP)

The Buffalo Bills released punter Matt Araiza two days after a civil lawsuit was filed alleging he and two of his former San Diego State teammates gang raped a minor. All three are accused of rape, gender violence and false imprisonment.

“This is bigger than football,” Bills general manager Brandon Beane said Saturday night. “Let’s just step back and [let Araiza] go handle this. That’s what we thought was most important.”

Beane said in a news conference held over two hours after practice ended in the team’s fieldhouse that the decision was made to release Araiza earlier that afternoon.

Araiza was not at practice Saturday after being held out of Friday’s preseason game against the Carolina Panthers. He was not on the sideline during the game or in the locker room afterward. He traveled back to Buffalo on the team plane and has not spoken with reporters since the civil suit was filed.

In a statement released during the game Friday, Araiza said, “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.”

“With the serious nature and allegations, and we just can’t, we don’t have the means to put all the facts together,” Beane said. “There’s multiple versions of what happened, and [Sean 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.”

Beane confirmed that the team got the “boulders” of what was being accused by the plaintiff, identified as Jane Doe, when the team’s assistant general counsel, Kathryn D’Angelo, spoke to her lawyer, Dan Gilleon, in late July. During that call, Beane said, Gilleon “laid out some of the things that they were accusing Matt and others of.”

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SOURCE: ESPN, Alaina Getzenberg