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Bills punter Matt Araiza not subject to NFL personal conduct policy amid rape allegations: report

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Buffalo Bills rookie punter Matt Araiza was accused in a lawsuit Thursday of gang-raping a minor while playing football at San Diego State last year, but any decision regarding his future in the league will have to come from the club, not the NFL, reports say. 

A lawsuit filed in San Diego Superior Court accused the 2022 sixth-round draft pick and two other of his former Aztecs teammates of sexually assaulting a 17-year-old girl at a Halloween party on Oct. 17, 2021. 

Buffalo Bills punter Matt Araiza waves to fans after a preseason NFL game against the Indianapolis Colts in Orchard Park, N.Y., on Aug. 13, 2022.
(AP Photo/Adrian Kraus, File)

According to the lawsuit, which was first reported by the Los Angeles Times, Araiza is accused of having sex with the teen outside a home and then taking her to a bedroom where she was allegedly raped by him and Zavier Leonard and Nowlin Ewaliko.

BILLS’ MATT ARAIZA, 2 FORMER COLLEGE TEAMMATES NAMED IN GANG-RAPE LAWSUIT

The lawsuit comes just days after the Bills cleared the way for Araiza to take over the punting duties by releasing returning veteran Matt Haack, but because the incident occurred before Araiza was drafted, he would not be subject to the NFL’s personal conduct policy,  multiple outlets reported Thursday

Buffalo Bills punter Matt Araiza, left, celebrates with place-kicker Tyler Bass after Bass kicked the go-ahead field goal in the second half of a preseason NFL game against the Indianapolis Colts in Orchard Park, N.Y., on Aug. 13, 2022.

Buffalo Bills punter Matt Araiza, left, celebrates with place-kicker Tyler Bass after Bass kicked the go-ahead field goal in the second half of a preseason NFL game against the Indianapolis Colts in Orchard Park, N.Y., on Aug. 13, 2022.
(AP Photo/Jeffrey T. Barnes)

According to a 2018 version of the policy: “It applies to players under contract; all rookie players selected in the NFL college draft and all undrafted rookie players, unsigned veterans who were under contract in the prior League Year; and other prospective players once they commence negotiations with a club concerning employment.” 

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Any decision regarding Araiza and his future with the Bills would come from the club itself.

The Bills released a statement confirming the team was “aware” of the civil complaint against Araiza but declined to comment further, citing the ongoing case. 

“We were recently made aware of a civil complaint involving Matt from October 2021,” the statement read. “Due to the serious nature of the complaint, we conducted a thorough examination of this matter. As this is an ongoing civil case, we will have no other comment at this point.”

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Buffalo Bills placekicker Tyler Bass boots the winning field goal as punter Matt Araiza holds the ball while Indianapolis Colts cornerback Alexander Myres tries to defend in the second half of a preseason NFL game in Orchard Park, N.Y., on Aug. 13, 2022.

Buffalo Bills placekicker Tyler Bass boots the winning field goal as punter Matt Araiza holds the ball while Indianapolis Colts cornerback Alexander Myres tries to defend in the second half of a preseason NFL game in Orchard Park, N.Y., on Aug. 13, 2022.
(AP Photo/Jeffrey T. Barnes)

An attorney representing Araiza has denied the accusations. 

“I 100% do not believe that he ever forcibly raped this girl or had sex with her while she was passed out or drunk or anything like that,” Armstrong told The Associated Press. “It’s unfortunate that she’s filed a civil suit. I think it’s a cash grab.”

Fox News’ Ryan Gaydos and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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