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Matt Araiza’s parents have released a statement amid the accusations that their son, a punter who was released by the Buffalo Bills, is one of three people who gang-raped a 17-year-old girl last year at San Diego State University while he was a student.
Araiza’s parents said there “has been war waged on our son” and that “the rule of law is innocent until proven guilty.”
“He has been tried and convicted in the media based on information released solely from the alleged victim and her attorney, much of it through social media. People have taken his information as factual, when it is not,” the statement read.
“We do not wish this experience on anyone, but question why our son is the only one receiving this kind of treatment by social media and national news media. The vitriol has been on him alone.
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“He has been extorted, discriminated against, harassed and the subject of multiple and continuous threats of violence and death. He has been released from his job and our entire family continues to receive horrific threats of violence and death. We have all been canceled. Every member of our family.”
The lawsuit filed in San Diego Superior Court accused Araiza of having sex with the minor outside a home and later brought her to a party where she was repeatedly raped. The victim says she was in and out of consciousness but can recall moments where the three men repeatedly assaulted her.
The statement of Araiza’s parents is in line with what he said on Friday when the lawsuit reached the public eye.
LAWYER FOR ALLEGED VICTIM IN GANG-RAPE LAWSUIT AGAINST EX-BILLS PUNTER RIPS TEAMS FOLLOWING PLAYERS' RELEASE
“The facts of the incident are not what they are portrayed in the lawsuit or in the press,” he said. “I look forward to quickly setting the record straight.”
“Salacious rumors grew as fact,” added Mr. and Mrs. Araiza. “There are multiple witness reports to deny the claims that are made against him. The legal system is designed to find the facts and make decisions. They should be allowed to that.”
The Bills released the 22-year-old nicknamed “Punt God” on Saturday.
“We tried to be thorough and thoughtful and not rush to judgment, and I would say it’s not easy,” said Bills GM Brandon Beane via The Washington Post. “You’re trying to put facts around a legal situation sometimes with limited information.
The victim’s attorney, Dan Gilleon, ripped the team following the punter's release, saying “The Buffalo Bills had no choice but to cut their young punter after so badly botching their response to our claim: they ignored us, as though what I warned them would happen could be avoided if they just kept their heads in the sand.”
BILLS PUNTER MATT ARAIZA NOT SUBJECT TO NFL PERSONAL CONDUCT POLICY AMID RAPE ALLEGATIONS: REPORT
Despite claims that they knew about the situation prior to taking Araiza in the 2022 NFL Draft, Beane said the team was not aware of the allegations when they selected him in the sixth round.
“It’s not easy to hear about some of the things that I’ve heard about over the last several hours. Haven’t slept a lot to be honest with you,” Bills head coach Sean McDermott said.
Araiza’s attorney, Kerry L. Armstrong, said he hoped his client is back in the NFL soon.
He added: “I am sure he is very upset and disappointed that his career with the Bills ended not because he played poorly but because of false allegations leveled against him by a young lady and her attorney.”
Gilleon said that his client was not after money, criticizing Armstrong who suggested that was the case.
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A police investigation regarding the lawsuit is ongoing. The results of the investigation are in the hands of the district attorney. There’s no current timeline as to when a decision will be made on whether or not charges will be filed.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.