Buffalo Bills rookie punter Matt Araiza, along with one former and one current San Diego State football player, have been accused of gang-raping a 17-year-old girl at a house party last year, according to a civil lawsuit filed this week, per the Los Angeles Times.
Araiza, who was one of the top punters in college football last season, is accused of having sex with a high-school senior outside of an off-campus party, and then bringing her into a room where she was raped repeatedly. The other men named in the suit are Zavier Leonard and Nowlin “Pa'a” Ewaliko.
Kerry Armstrong, who is Araiza's lawyer, told the Los Angeles Times that the rape accusation is false, and that his investigator spoke to witnesses from the party who told a different story from the woman.
“It's a shakedown because he's now with the Buffalo Bills,” Armstrong said. “There is no doubt in my mind that Matt Araiza [never] raped that girl.”
Araiza will not play in Buffalo's final preseason game Friday night at Carolina, according to Adam Schefter.
Araiza officially won the Bills punting job this week, as the team released veteran Matt Haack — who was then claimed by the Indianapolis Colts. The rookie punter, whose moniker is “Punt God,” recorded an 82-yard punt that traveled more than 75 yards in the air in Week 1 of the preseason.
The Bills released a statement to the Los Angeles Times saying they are aware of the situation, but did not want to offer comment.
“We were recently made aware of a civil complaint involving Matt from October 2021,” the Bills said in a statement Thursday. “Due to the serious nature of the complaint, we conducted a thorough examination of this matter. As this is an ongoing civil case, we will have no other comment at this point.”
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