(Warning: This column contains graphic details of alleged sexual assault.)
As of this writing, early Friday afternoon on the East Coast, rookie shortstop Matt Araiza is still a member of the Buffalo Bills.
Araiza is being investigated by San Diego police for involvement in the gang-rape of a 17-year-old high school senior last October, and the accuser has filed a civil lawsuit naming Araiza and two former San Diego State teammates. defendants.
Reporters citing Bills sourcesas well as the prosecutor’s attorney, have said that the the team knew about the allegations and the lawsuit for weeks, well before Monday, when Buffalo cut veteran Matt Haack, signaling that Araiza would be the team’s starter this NFL season.
On Wednesday’s Pardon My Take podcast, Bills coach Sean McDermott called Araiza “a great kid” who has quickly become a fan favorite in Buffalo because he can blow up punts. He has been called the “Punt God”.
The cute nickname, the big leg, the fans immediately embracing a 6th round pick, it would all be a neat little story if not for the details that have been floating around for months, as reported by the Los Angeles Times, which are horrific .
The young woman and some friends went to a party at an off-campus house where Araiza lived. She claims she was given a drink by Araiza. according to the lawsuitit is suspected that the drink contained “not only alcohol, but also other intoxicants”.
Separating her from her friends, Araiza allegedly led the young woman to a side yard, where he allegedly told her to give him oral sex, then picked her up, turned her around and allegedly had sex with her.
He is then accused of taking her to a room inside the house, where several other people were waiting. Araiza allegedly threw her face down on the bed and the men in the room allegedly took turns raping her, passing her in and out of consciousness, for about 90 minutes. The alleged victim’s genitals were bloody and piercings in her nose, ear and belly button were torn, according to the lawsuit.
Then she did what women are told to do if they’re in a hurry. She went to the police to report the alleged assault the next day, where she says she had to wait five hours to speak to an officer. She underwent an exam and rape kit at a local children’s hospital. Her father told San Diego State officials three days after the incident allegedly happened.
The Times reports that Araiza was linked to the attack within days of the party through San Diego State’s anonymous reporting system. several people reported the alleged rape, and at least one other student athlete who had heard about the assault questioned why school officials hadn’t investigated and whether the football coaches were “trying to sweep it under the rug” because the team was in the middle of a season 12-2.
Documents from the lawsuit say that in a pretend phone call the alleged victim made to Araiza, he confirmed he and the teen had sex and told her she needed to get tested for chlamydia. But Araiza’s tone changed when she asked him, “And we had real sex?” and claimed he didn’t remember anything about the night and then hung up. According to information, the police recorded the call.
In California, the age of consent is 18. The young woman was 17 at the time of the alleged assault and reportedly told Araiza that night that she was still in high school.
As is often the case, research has been delayed. no charges have been filed at this point.
But the Buffalo Bills are no court. NFL teams can and do cut players for any number of reasons every week.
Even in a league where a quarterback accused of sexually harassing more than a dozen women recently received the largest contract in league history, a rape charge with a long-standing criminal investigation and a civil case now underway , should be at the top of the list of reasons a player is weakened. Especially at a time when Buffalo has witnessed the ridicule and criticism the Cleveland Browns received for signing Deshaun Watson — every bit of it was deserved — as more accusers came forward.
Here’s hoping that now, against all clear evidence, NFL clubs and commissioner Roger Goodell would be fully aware of the public sentiment about a team hosting an accused rapist and make it known that it shouldn’t happen. One empty statement it is all we have got so far from the accounts, otherwise silent in word and deed.
We’ve written time and time again that the NFL doesn’t care about women. We will continue to write that the NFL doesn’t care about women until the league and its member teams stop appearing to turn a blind eye to situations like these and stop paying lip service to the idea that it cares about the mental, emotional and physical well-being of female fans and women everywhere.
Thursday night, the world learned that a member of the Buffalo Bills has been named in a lawsuit and is under investigation in connection with the alleged brutal rape of a 17-year-old girl.
The details of what happened to her, the young woman claims, are horrific.
Including the detail that as of this writing, Matt Araiza still holds an NFL roster spot.