Newly Signed NFL Punter Accused of Gang Rape

By Alexis Schulman 

*Trigger Warning* 

Matt Araiza, a 22-year-old punter, just signed a four year, $3.87 million contract for the NFL team, the Buffalo Bills. A couple days after he signed, a lawsuit was filed against him for gang raping a 17-year-old high school girl with his friends in October 2021. Though he has not been proven guilty or innocent yet, he was released by the Bills on Saturday Aug. 27, after playing in two pre-season games. 

Araiza played for the San Diego State Football Team and was known as a “Punt God,” according to the Los Angeles Times and his teammates. He set records for San Diego State University (SDSU) and for the NCAA. 

The NFL and the NCAA have a history of not filing Title IX reports, especially for  important players. In this particular case, SDSU and the San Diego police waited seven months before filing a report. 

The court case is still continuing, and the victim has even spoken out about her experience since October. 

The victim of the assault, according to the LA Times, says that after the rape happened, she told her friends. She came out of the room with vaginal bleeding, her ear and body piercings pulled out. She was drunk, and remembers bits and pieces of her assault that lasted for an hour.

She immediately went to the San Diego police and waited five hours until an officer spoke to her. She got a rape exam. Detectives then asked the girl to make calls to Araiza that were recorded without his knowledge. Araiza first recommended that she gets STD checked. Then she asked him if they had sex. Araiza replied he did not remember anything from that night. 

The police then did not file a Title IX report, and the victim was public about it.  

Allegedly in late July, the Bills heard from the victim’s lawyer and ignored her claims while Araiza was being scouted by the Bills. Once the lawsuit went public, Araiza was subsequently kicked off the team.

“I think this shows that the [NFL] teams will have to do better background checks on players before they decide to draft them,” said Peter Scourus, junior business major and Buffalo Bills enthusiast. “The NFL is making a statement with this case saying they definitely don’t tolerate this. This will be set as a huge example for the future.” 

Though the NFL released Araiza, the question still remains; will Araiza get a larger punishment? 

“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,” said Araiza.

Araiza’s lawyer said “It’s a money grab on her part, on behalf of Mr. Araiza.”

After that statement was made the victim spoke out. 

“That makes me really sick to the stomach. I reported it the day after it happened. I was 17 years old and I had no idea who Matt Araiza was,” said the victim.

The case is still continuing.

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