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Does former Bills punter Matt Araiza have a future in the NFL after no charges were brought against him in gang rape case?

While he’s avoided charges, it remains to be seen whether the punter will actually be able to restart his career in the league.

Does former Bills punter Matt Araiza have a future in the NFL after no charges were brought against him in gang rape case?
Michael Hickey

Though it now seems that the former punter will avoid legal consequences for his actions, the question remains as to whether he has a future in the NFL, with a civil suit ongoing.

Matt Araiza won’t be charged in gang rape case

According to a statement from the San Diego District Attorney’s office on Wednesday, former Buffalo Bills and San Diego State University football punter Matt Araiza, will not be charged in connection with the alleged gang rape of a minor. If you missed it, Araiza was one of three now-former Aztec football players named in a civil lawsuit. Alongside the punter were Zavier Leonard and Nowlin “Pa’a” Ewaliko, both of whom will also not be charged, according to the statement.

It is understood, that sexual assault experts, district attorney prosecutors and investigators all analyzed evidence in the case, which included 35 witnesses, DNA results and 10 search warrants. “Ultimately, prosecutors determined it is clear the evidence does not support the filing of criminal charges, and there is no path to a potential criminal conviction,” the office said. “Prosecutors can only file charges when they ethically believe they can be proven beyond a reasonable doubt.” Following the statement, Araiza’s agent Joe Linta released a d statement as well in which the punter made clear that he is excited to continue his NFL career.

There is still a civil suit that Matt Araiza needs to deal with

With regards to the details of the case, the now-18-year-old woman alleged that Araiza, then 21, had sex with her in the yard of a house near the San Diego State campus on October 17th, 2021. It is also alleged that Araiza then brought her inside the house, where she claims she was later raped by Araiza, Leonard and Ewaliko. Further to that, the suit also states that the woman - a minor at the time - immediately reported the alleged rape to friends and in turn, to the police the very next day. For his part, Araiza was never arrested or charged following her complaint and the allegation itself wasn’t disclosed to the public until the filing of the civil suit back in august.

Ultimately, following an investigation by San Diego police during the course of nine months, it was finally recommended that no charges be filed when the case was submitted. As for Araiza, the player once known as “Punt God” after he set an NCAA record in his senior year with a 51.19-yard punting average, was selected by Buffalo in the sixth round of the NFL draft, however, he was cut by the team within two days of the suit being filed. It is understood that Leonard was cut by the Aztecs, while Ewaliko left the team weeks later. It remains to be seen whether an NFL team will take a chance on Araiza.


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