Bills' Matt Araiza accused in lawsuit of taking part in gang rape while at San Diego State

Bills' Matt Araiza accused in lawsuit of taking part in gang rape while at San Diego State

Days after winning the starting punter job for the Bills, rookie Matt Araiza has been named as a defendant in a civil lawsuit by an 18-year-old woman who claims Araiza and two other San Diego State football players raped her last October.

The Los Angeles Times reports that the woman claimed she was raped by the players at an off-campus party on Oct. 17, 2021. One of the other two players, Zavier Leonard,  is still with the Aztecs program while the other, Nowlin “Pa’a” Ewaliko, is not, the Times reported.

Araiza’s lawyer, Kerry Armstrong, denied the allegations.

“It’s a shakedown because he’s now with the Buffalo Bills,” Armstrong said, per the Los Angeles Times. “There is no doubt in my mind that Matt Araiza ever raped that girl.”

The woman claimed in the suit that she went to San Diego police a day after the incident and was examined at a local hospital. No arrests have been made in the investigation.

The Times’ story also referred to the newspaper’s investigation into San Diego State officials seeming to cover up or ignore the incident amid the team’s success last season. San Diego State won the Mountain West Western division and finished 12-2.

According to the Times’ report Thursday, campus officials said San Diego police told them not to take any actions that would compromise the department’s investigation.

Will the Bills discipline Matt Araiza?

The Bills released a statement shortly after the Times published its story.

“We were recently made aware of a civil complaint involving Matt from October 2021,” the Bills said. “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.”

Confusion abounded last April after Araiza, who was dubbed “Punt God” in college, was taken by the Bills in the sixth round of the 2022 NFL Draft. He was the third punter selected despite being considered the clear No. 1 player at his position. The allegations may offer insight into why Araiza dropped.

Will Matt Araiza face NFL discipline?

Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio noted Thursday that the NFL’s Personal Conduct Policy doesn’t extend to actions that occur before a player reaches the NFL, but the allegations can be considered retroactively if Araiza is accused in a future off-the-field matter.

This article will be updated.