Did the Bills know about the allegations against Matt Araiza when drafting him?

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Technically, Bills gambler Matt Araiza won the job only recently. Practically, he secured the position as the team dedicated the first pick in round six (180th overall) to securing his rights.

Given the recent filing of a civil complaint against Araiza and two others for alleged gang rape of a 17-year-old girl, the question arises as to whether the Bills were aware of the charge at the time they drafted Araiza.

The Bills did not explicitly disclose whether they were aware of the claim before putting Araiza’s name on a draft card. Their statement regarding the lawsuit avoids the broader question of when they first learned of the situation by focusing solely on their knowledge of the lawsuit. The allegation itself emerged well before the lawsuit was filed; the criminal investigation certainly began before Araiza was summoned.

“We were recently made aware of a civil complaint involving Matt from October 2021,” the Bills said in a statement released Thursday night. “Due to the seriousness of the complaint, we have thoroughly investigated this matter. As this is an ongoing civil matter, we will have no other comments at this time.”

They were recently notified of the civil complaint as it was only recently filed. The claim that they “have thoroughly investigated this matter” is not tied to any specific time frame. It may refer to a time period before the case was filed. Or maybe before Araiza was summoned.

Tim Graham of TheAthletic.com reports that the Bills were notified of the allegations last month. Which means they weren’t aware of the situation when drafting him, but they found out before Matt Haack, the other punter competitor, was fired.

Why didn’t the Bills publicly say they didn’t know, instead of leaking that information unofficially? Perhaps the truth is that they knew. Or, at the very least, that they should have known.

Araiza’s attorney, Kerry Armstrong, initially said in a recent TV interview that “you better believethat Araiza notified the NFL of the situation before the draft. But then Armstrong withdrew when asked specifically if the bills knew before drafting Araiza.

“When we say ‘all the information,’ I don’t know what information the Bills had at the time, when they actually selected him in the design,” Armstrong said. “I do know that I’ve been briefing them on some things recently, so I think they have at least a decent understanding of what the allegations are.”

At this point, the remaining questions become easy. First, what did the bills know before they drew up Araiza? Two, if they had known then what they know, would they have summoned him? Three, given what they know now, what will they do?

While Araiza is entitled to the various constitutional protections in the criminal process, the bills can go ahead if they wish. While it could cause a complaint that would force them to potentially pay his salary, that’s still better than hiring someone charged with a heinous crime and possibly guilty.

That’s why the Bills should do a full investigation and, if based on their investigation, they think the allegations are credible and more likely than not true, they should cut him.

The league should want them to cut it, if the Bills (or the league) think the allegations are credible and more than likely false. Had this happened after Araiza was called up, he would likely be on his way to paid leave as the criminal trial continues – rather than 13 days from his official debut on NBC in the first regular season game of the year. Since it took him six months to enter the NFL, the only way to keep him off the field is to remove him from the team.

The Bills shouldn’t take that lightly. But the league and the Bills certainly have the means to judge whether they think it’s more likely than not that he did it. If they do, there’s only one thing left.


The Valley Voice
The Valley Voicehttp://thevalleyvoice.org
Christopher Brito is a social media producer and trending writer for The Valley Voice, with a focus on sports and stories related to race and culture.

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