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Schefter: Matt Araiza Will Not Punt for Bills vs. Panthers amid Gang-Rape Allegation

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured Columnist IVAugust 26, 2022

Joshua Bessex/Getty Images

Buffalo Bills punter Matt Araiza is in the building for Friday's preseason contest against the Carolina Panthers, but he reportedly will not play after a woman filed a civil lawsuit Thursday accusing Araiza and two San Diego State teammates of gang-raping her in October 2021.

ESPN's Adam Schefter reported Araiza "will not punt for Buffalo in tonight's preseason game at Carolina."

Colleen Shalby and Robert J. Lopez of the Los Angeles Times reported Araiza was one of the three past and present San Diego State University football players accused of gang-raping a 17-year-old girl during a party at his off-campus residence last October.

Zavier Leonard, who is on San Diego State's football roster, and Nowlin Ewaliko, who was on the team last season, are listed as the two other defendants.

The woman, now 18 years old, said Araiza knew she was a high school student but still offered her a drink that she believes "not only contained alcohol, but other intoxicating substances," per the suit. She said he told her to perform oral sex on him and then had sex with her before he brought her into a room where Araiza, Leonard and at least one other man gang-raped her for an hour and a half.

The next day she reported the rape to the San Diego Police Department and underwent a rape exam at a local hospital. Per Shalby and Lopez, detectives "recently submitted their investigation to the San Diego County district attorney's office" which will "determine whether charges should be filed."

"We were recently made aware of a civil complaint involving Matt from October 2021," the Bills said in a statement. "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."

Attorney Dan Gilleon, who is representing the woman, told Tim Graham of The Athletic he "never heard from them again" when asked if the Bills reached out to him or his client while investigating the situation following an initial "long phone call with the team's assistant general counsel, Kathryn D'Angelo."

Araiza's lawyer, Kerry Armstrong, denied the allegations on his client's behalf and said, "it's a shakedown because he's now with the Buffalo Bills."

Buffalo selected the punter with a sixth-round pick in the 2022 NFL draft.

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