Matt Araiza: “The Amount of Fans Definitely Caught Me Off Guard” | Buffalo Bills

Former Buffalo Bills punter Matt Araiza has been in an all-out battle for his freedom as he faced some horrifying allegations. And with it looking like his criminal liability has been conquered, he’s now looking to regain his life and his livelihood.


Matt Araiza via WGRZ-TV YouTube

The 22-year-old Araiza and two of his former San Diego State football teammates were accused of gang rape at a 2021 off-campus party. The alleged victim was 17 years old at the time and claims she was heavily intoxicated. When the allegations were raised, Araiuza stated that he did attend the party and made contact with the accuser. However, he said left before the situation in question would have occurred.

More details surrounding this wild scenario have emerged in the form of a 101-minute audio recording between Deputy District Attorney Trisha Amador and the woman and her attorney. On it, the prosecutor made them aware that no criminal charges would be filed against Matt Araiza or his former teammates following their 124-day investigation.

The DA office’s collected information included four terabytes of data, more than 35 taped witness interviews, a physical exam of the woman, and nine video clips of the woman’s sexual encounters that night.

Matt Araiza

Matt Araiza via WGRZ-TV YouTube

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On the recording, Amador explained to the witnesses that Araiza will not be charged due to lack of evidence. The woman then offered her explanation of how she thought the night’s events unfolded. She said several eyewitnesses heard differently.

“The witnesses say…that shortly after you arrived at the party, you left and came back shortly thereafter. And you told (a friend), ‘I just had sex,’” Amador said to the girl, via Yahoo Sports. “You didn’t appear unhappy. You appeared to be having fun and that the encounter on the side of the house with Matt, suspect Araiza, was consensual.”

Another large part of this case is the woman being 17 years old at the time of the incident, and whether Araiza and his teammates knew that she was underage.

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“A witness who was in the house gave a statement saying that at – at least one point in the party, you made a statement telling people at the party you were 18,” Amador told the girl. “Another witness at the party, a different one, says that they specifically heard you say you were 18.”

Needless to say, the prosecutor built up enough doubt of the accuser’s account, at least in the case of Araiza, not to bring a case. Therefore, the player is now looking to right another wrong. He wants his job back in the NFL. And while he likely can’t go back to Buffalo, he and his agent have been exploring options elsewhere.

“I was happy that there was so much evidence and that this wasn’t a ‘he-said, she-said’ thing,” Araiza, later told The New York Post. “A lot of cases like this are and it’s up to a jury kind of guessing. I mean, if there’s no evidence either way, it’s somewhat a guess. I’m grateful that’s not the case in this one.”

Matt Araiza

Matt Araiza via Buffalo Bills YouTube

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For now, Matt Araiza is back in his hometown of Pomway, California, working out and hoping for an opportunity to prove himself in The League once again. At just 22, he feels like he has plenty to offer now that this incident is behind him.

“That’s the goal,” he said. “I think people underestimate how tough it is to make it in the NFL when you’re a free agent and you’ve been out of the game for a year. That just gives teams questions, so I’m just looking for the opportunity to answer those questions.”

The Buffalo Bills selected Araiza in the sixth round with the 180th overall pick of the 2022 NFL Draft. He was eventually named the team’s starter during training camp. Araiza was released two days after a lawsuit accusing him and two former SDSU teammates of rape became public on August 27.

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