Within the face of a serious public backlash and inside questions over the choice to award Matt Araiza the punting job, the Buffalo Payments reversed course by chopping the rookie on Saturday, two daysalleging the participant and two school teammates gang-raped an adolescent final fall.
The choice to chop ties with their sixth-round draft pick of San Diego State comes after Buffalo cleared the way in which for Araiza to take over the punting duties by releasing returning veteran Matt Haack on Monday.
The Payments opted then to maintain Araiza even whereas being conscious of the allegations made towards him since late July. The staff then stood by the participant by asserting it “performed a radical examination” into the matter a day after the lawsuit was filed. Nevertheless, the legal professional for the alleged sufferer mentioned Friday that the Paymentsfor particulars.
Araiza’s launch begins to ease a disaster which has shaken the staff as mirrored by coach Sean McDermott having problem containing his feelings whereas discussing the state of affairs following a 21-0 preseason loss at Carolina on Friday night time.
With out being particular, McDermott mentioned he was unaware of among the revelations that got here out as soon as the lawsuit was filed a day earlier, and repeatedly mentioned the staff has work to do to get to the reality.
“It is not a state of affairs we take frivolously. I am damage, I perceive they’re damage,” McDermott mentioned referring to Buffalo’s fanbase. “It is not simple to listen to about among the issues that I’ve heard about during the last a number of hours say. Have not slept quite a bit to be trustworthy with you.”
McDermott made the decision to carry out Araiza from taking part in towards Carolina. The participant watched the sport from an undisclosed location whereas additionally issuing an announcement by way of his agent, Joe Linta, which learn: “The details of the incident should not what they’re portrayed within the lawsuit or within the press. I stay up for shortly setting the file straight.”
With out one other punter on the roster, third-string quarterback Matt Barkley dealt with the punting duties.
A lawsuit filed in San Diego County Superior Courtroom accused Araiza and two teammates of raping a then-17-year-old woman at a Halloween occasion at an off-campus residence the place Araiza had been residing. A San Diego police investigation has been turned over to the district legal professional’s workplace to find out whether or not to pursue costs. DA spokeswoman Tanya Sierra mentioned Friday there was no timeline as to how lengthy a call will take.
In Buffalo, the main target shifts to why the Payments weren’t conscious of the allegations towards Araiza when deciding on the San Diego State participant within the sixth spherical of the draft in April. Although he was school soccer’s high punter final 12 months, and earned the nickname “Punt God” due to a booming left leg, Araiza was the third punter chosen within the draft.
It is unclear whether or not Araiza knowledgeable the NFL in regards to the allegations within the months main as much as the draft.
Executives from two totally different groups advised The Related Press they turned conscious of Araiza’s involvement in an incident throughout the draft course of, however neither particular person knew the extent of the allegations. Executives from three different groups mentioned they’d no information of the allegations towards Araiza earlier than the draft and solely realized of the incident Thursday. All of the folks spoke to The AP on situation of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the matter.
Although it is unclear when the Payments first turned conscious of the allegations, they knew by the top of July when Dan Gilleon, the lawyer representing the alleged sufferer recognized within the lawsuit as “Jane Doe,” contacted the staff’s authorized counsel, Kathryn D’Angelo, by e-mail.
“She appeared like she was involved. She says she’ll get again to me, after which she by no means did,” Gilleon mentioned. “I even adopted up and mentioned, ‘Hey, you guys have not talked to me and referred to as me again such as you mentioned you’ll.′ They usually simply ignored that, too.”
With out saying when, Araiza’s lawyer, Kerry Armstrong, mentioned he additionally knowledgeable his consumer to be upfront and inform the Payments in regards to the allegations. Armstrong mentioned he additionally saved in common contact with the Payments over the previous month to supply particulars of his personal investigation into what occurred.
“I 100% don’t consider that he ever forcibly raped this woman or had intercourse along with her whereas she was handed out or drunk or something like that,” Armstrong mentioned.
The Payments additionally performed what they referred to as a “thorough examination,” which ultimately led to their determination to chop Haack.
The Payments additionally knowledgeable the NFL of the incident as soon as they have been made conscious of it, an individual aware of the state of affairs advised The AP. The particular person, talking on situation of anonymity due to the delicate nature of the matter, wasn’t sure of the timeline.
The NFL declined to remark besides to say it was conscious of the matter.