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Matt Araiza was cut by the Buffalo Bills in August 2022 one day after an allegation was made public that the punter had taken part in the gang rape of a minor while attending San Diego State.
Prosecutors in the San Diego District Attorney’s Office declined to file criminal charges, but Araiza was still facing a civil suit.
Fast-forward nearly nine months to May 2023, after Araiza lost out on his rookie season, it has now been determined that he was not present at the time of the incident that allegedly took place in October 2021. Prosecutors also told the accuser that from their investigation, they could not conclude that sexual assault occurred.
With investigators clearing his name from the alleged situation, Araiza is speaking on the “very dark eight months” he’s had to endure.
“I am thankful that the facts of this case as provided by the witnesses will prove that what I have been saying from the beginning is, in fact, the truth,” Araiza said in a statement to Pro Football Talk.
“I can only hope that now people will assess me on the facts and not what was falsely claimed in both the civil suit and in the press.”
“I am beyond thankful for the unwavering support of both my family and friends. They have been a rock in what has been a very dark eight months for me. However, now that the truth is out, I am amazed by the thousands of emails and tweets supporting me. It has truly been a blessing to know so many people have now judged me by the facts.”
The recently released transcripts between the accuser and prosecutors do explain that Araiza did engage in sexual activity with the accuser, but he maintains that it was consensual and he did not know the girl was under 18.
Whether or not Araiza is signed by an NFL team after being exonerated on criminal charges remains to be seen. While the civil case is still ongoing, civil litigation wouldn’t impact his eligibility to play in the NFL.
6 CommentsLeave a Reply
Bengals have punter competition going. Would love to see him in the mix. Shame on the Bills for cutting him. Pathetic.
Yes, that would be awesome if Bengals sign him.
He was found guilty in the court of public opinion and had to prove his innocence. How terrible.
It’s great that he was exonerated, but does nothing to make up for a whole season lost. Also, who knows when he will get another opportunity. Disgusting that made up stories are immediately believed and have a huge impact on someone’s life.
Sue the Bills for wrongful termination.
I’m waiting for an apology from all those in the media who slandered Araiza. I imagine it will be a very long wait.