Matt Araiza won’t face charges, but Bills still did the right thing
By Ryan Heckman
Back in August, the Buffalo Bills cut ties with rookie sixth-round punter Matt Araiza after a civil suit was filed against the former San Diego State product.
The lawsuit alleged that Araiza, then 21 years old, had sex with a 17-year-old high school student and then proceeded to sexually assault her, alongside two former teammates of his, for an hour and a half.
The gang rape case caused Buffalo to make a very quick decision in letting Araiza go, and now here we are four months later with a decision on the young man’s future.
Wednesday evening, it was announced that Araiza would not face any criminal charges in this matter, with the victim planning to pursue the matter with a civil lawsuit. The woman’s attorney, Dan Gilleon, maintained the opinion that his client could not achieve justice outside the civil arena.
"“It is only in the civil system that a victim of sexual assault can achieve justice, and we plan to do just that,” Gilleon said."
Although there were no criminal charges against Matt Araiza, the Buffalo Bills, without a doubt, did the right thing.
After the announcement was made, Araiza took to his social media via his agency to express his thoughts on the decision.
Regardless of whether or not criminal charges were filed, though, the Bills still made the right call by cutting bait. Araiza clearly wants to pursue an NFL career, still, but will have to continue to battle through this situation civilly.
The Bills, meanwhile, are still a team with Super Bowl aspirations. The last thing they would have needed, over the past four months, is to have this gigantic cloud over their organization caused by a rookie punter, of all players.
Whether or not Araiza is guilty is irrelevant in this matter, because the Bills could not afford to put up with such a distraction. This is a team with some veteran leadership, a sound-minded head coach and a general manager that has made the right moves to put them in this position.
A serious matter such as Araiza’s was not about to get in the way of a Super Bowl run, and Buffalo made every bit of a good decision in letting him go. The road ahead for the former sixth-round pick is still a lengthy one, and even if he does end up making it back to the league, we can only hope it will not be with the Bills, for good reason.