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Buffalo Bills Cut Matt Araiza Amid Rape Lawsuit


The Buffalo Bills cut Matt Araiza on Saturday, two days after the rookie punter was accused in a lawsuit of raping a 17-year-old girl last October with two of his teammates at San Diego State.

“We don’t know all of the facts, and that’s what makes it hard, but at the moment we predict it’s the perfect move for everybody to maneuver on from Matt and let him handle this case,” Brandon Beane, the team’s general manager, said in a news conference on Saturday night after a team practice.

Beane said that the team learned in regards to the accusations in late July, about three months after Araiza was drafted. “We tried to be thorough and thoughtful and never rush to judgment,” he said. “It’s tough.”

“We just decided that a very powerful thing is that this is just not about football, it’s about letting Matt go handle this,” Beane added.

Araiza traveled with the team on Friday to Charlotte for the team’s last preseason game but was not in uniform. He was not on the team’s practice on Saturday.

Araiza denied the accusations in an announcement released through his agent on Friday night. “The facts of the incident usually are not what they’re portrayed within the lawsuit or within the press,” he said, adding that he looked forward to “quickly setting the record straight.”

Within the lawsuit filed in San Diego Superior Court on Thursday, the teenager said that she was “observably intoxicated” at a house party last October in San Diego and that Araiza, who was 21 on the time, knew that she was in highschool. She said that Araiza led her to a side yard, where he raped her orally and vaginally. In response to the civil grievance, Araiza then took her to a bedroom contained in the house, where a gaggle of men, including the 2 San Diego State teammates named in her lawsuit, “took turns having sex together with her” while she went out and in of consciousness.

The San Diego police began an investigation last 12 months, and a public affairs officer for the San Diego County district attorney’s office confirmed on Friday that it was reviewing the police investigation to think about criminal charges.

Araiza’s name was not publicly connected to the case until Thursday, when the teenager named him as a defendant in her lawsuit. Her lawyer, Dan Gilleon, had notified the Bills weeks earlier, nonetheless. He sent an email to the team’s assistant general counsel, Kathryn D’Angelo, on July 31, in line with a screenshot reviewed by The Recent York Times, and said he spoke to her over the phone on Aug. 1. But Gilleon’s law firm said the Bills didn’t contact him again and didn’t ask to talk to Araiza’s accuser, despite the team’s public statement that it had conducted a “thorough examination.”

Earlier this week, the team cut one other punter, Matt Haack, effectively handing the starting job to Araiza.

Beane said the team didn’t release Araiza sooner because its investigation had not been accomplished, however the filing of the lawsuit on Thursday was “something you have got to reply to.” He added that the suit “clarified” what the accusations were, though he didn’t explain what recent information they learned from the grievance and previously from Araiza himself.

The teenager kept a diary that included her memories of the event, which Gilleon shared on social media. In response to her lawsuit, during a tape-recorded call arrange by San Diego police, Araiza confirmed having had sex together with her and told her she should get tested for sexually transmitted diseases, before changing his tone when she asked more pointed questions.

The Bills chosen Araiza, who was generally known as the “Punt God” at San Diego State, within the sixth round of this 12 months’s draft. Beane said that he has checked with a “double digit” variety of other N.F.L. teams, and none said they knew anything about these accusations before the draft.

Araiza appeared within the Bills’ first preseason game and flew with the team to Charlotte for his or her third game on Friday. He didn’t dress for the sport and Matt Barkley, a backup quarterback, handled the punting.

Araiza’s release, just months after he signed a four-year contract price nearly $4 million, comes because the N.F.L. faces renewed scrutiny of the treatment of girls by players, team owners and other league personnel. The league has struggled for years to seek out ways to analyze problems that involve domestic violence and sexual abuse.

Last week, the N.F.L. reached a settlement with Deshaun Watson, the star quarterback of the Cleveland Browns, who was accused by greater than two dozen women of sexual misconduct. Watson was suspended for 11 games and fined $5 million.

The N.F.L.’s personal conduct policy doesn’t cover incidents that occurred before players, coaches and other personnel joined the league, so it’s unlikely Araiza might have been suspended by the league.

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