It’s hard to bid adieu to a “Punt God,” but the Buffalo Bills begrudgingly dredged up a conscience and booted starting punter Matt Araiza off the team. One teen sued the San Diego State University rookie who claimed he and two of his teammates gang-raped it last year.
After dragging their feet for months, Buffalo released Araiza, nicknamed “Punt God,” on Saturday.
Bills General Manager Brandon Beane said during a press conference “we just think it’s the best move for everyone to move on from Matt and let him take care of this situation and focus on that. So, we’re gonna part ways there.” The Bills are slinking away in shame for delaying the inevitable, is more like it.
If there is another avenue for “Punt God’’ to play in the NFL, it could go through Cleveland. The Browns have already acquired Deshaun Watson (the serial abuser of massage therapists), who is currently serving an eleven-game suspension. Browns acquired Kareem Hunt, the female kicker.
Beane, the Bills and Araiza had to be aware of San Diego State’s situation. It wasn’t until things became heated that they developed a conscience. Shockingly, Beane said they had no idea about Araiza’s notorious reputation when they drafted him in April. This is from a member of a league which vets, analyzes and analyses prospects like crazy.
“The last 48 hours have been very difficult for a lot of people. It’s been tough. And you know, we sympathize with this whole situation, all the parties involved, this young woman, what she went through,” Beane said Saturday. Sean McDermott, the head coach who was going to make “Punt God” a starter, was there, too.
Buffalo made Araiza their starting punter last Monday, when they fired veteran Matt Haack. They planned to go with “Punt God,” college football’s leading punter last year. The Bills insisted they had “conducted a thorough examination” into the lawsuit against Araiza. Perhaps they believed they could slip under radar. But, ultimately they couldn’t ignore the egg in their collective eyes.
Beane said the team tried to avoid a “rush to judgment.” based on the information it had, while noting Araiza claimed innocence. They “accomplished” this by naming him their starter 15 days before the season begins. There’s no hurry. We’re not “a judge and a jury,” Beane said. It’s obvious that they are not. These men aren’t great advocates for victims of gang-rape.
Araiza’s agent, Joe Linta, said his client/alleged rapist is innocent of a trumped-up lawsuit and watched the Bills’ most recent exhibition game from an undisclosed location. Araiza’s attorney, Kerry Armstrong, also said the allegations are “false.” They stand to make good money from their client if “Punt God” can beat the rap.
The alleged victim of the gang rape who filed the lawsuit was a 17-year-old girl attending a Halloween party at Araiza’s home off the San Diego State campus when the incident supposedly happened.
The Bills have one last word. Beane stated that Bills’ culture was more important than winning football matches. The opposite has been true for the last few months.