Former San Diego State football player Matt Araiza — named Thursday in a gang-rape lawsuit — won’t play in today’s NFL preseason game between his Buffalo Bills and the Carolina Panthers, the NFL reports.
Araiza — dubbed “Punt God” for his Aztec achievements — hasn’t been charged criminally, but the civil suit in San Diego Superior Court apparently has given his new employer pause.
NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported that the Bills’ rookie punter traveled with the team to Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, North Carolina, on Thursday and attended pregame activities Friday.
“He is currently the only punter on the Bills’ roster,” said the NFL report. “Buffalo backup quarterback Matt Barkley punted for the team on Friday.”
In a statement Thursday, the Bills said: “We were recently made aware of a civil complaint involving Matt from October 2021. 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.”
Rapoport said the NFL’s Personnel Conduct Policy does not apply to incidents that take place before a player was drafted or joined a team.
“If criminal charges are filed against Araiza, however, he would then be subject to a league investigation and potential disciplinary action, per the league policy,” he wrote.
Kerry Armstrong, Araiza’s attorney, has denied the rape accusation, according to the Los Angeles Times.