“Buffalo Bills-Judge & Jury”
It happened 10-months ago.
The fallout has been fast and furious.
Legendary Aztecs punter Matt Arazia’s career is over before it ever began.
He was released Saturday night in Buffalo, 48-hours after a sexual assault rape lawsuit was filed by that 18-year old high school student who charged she was raped by multiple SDSU players last October.
There are so many layers to this seedy story, so many unanswered questions, and alot of explanations yet to be given.
A look at the storylines and questions I have:
SAN DIEGO POLICE…The probe started on October 19th…it took nearly 10-months. Included was a mandate that SDSU not begin its own on campus investigation until police completed their probe.
DISTRICT ATTORNEY…The office now has the police file, reviewing interviews and documents. Will they charge Matt Araiza and two former teammates? Will the case go to a Grand Jury for indictments.
AZTECS FOOTBALL…Coach Brady Hoke says the administration was never told the identities of the three players under investigation until the lawsuit was filed middle of last week. But their denial comes in the face of social media issues on campus that mentioned Arazia’s name as far back as late October last year. SDSU decided to bring in a rape counselor to hold seminars with the players, a woman who herself was a rape victim at Oregon State and became a counselor after that, meeting with college athletes nationwide.
MATT ARAZIA…Thru his lawyers,maintains his innocence, and says he wants to tell his side of the story.. The kicker, who took part in a phone call with the victim, monitored by police, admitted he had sex with the girl and admitted he was being treated for a sexually transmitted disease too. His one criminal lawyer called the lawsuit a money grab.
THE PLAYERS…There are conflicting reports as to how many players actually were involved in the sexual assault in Arazia’s apartment. At one point there were reports five SDSU players were involved. The two named with the kicker in the lawsuit were removed from the program.
THE LAWSUIT…Paperwork shows the the woman arrived at the party drunk, and then was given another drink by Araiza. She either performed oral sex or was forced to by the kicker, then proceeded to have sex with him in a side yard. The lawsuit says the player took her to his bedroom, where other players engaged in 90-minutes of sex with her. She finally fled, called friends, reported the rape the next day, went to a hospital to have the rape kit tests.
The VICTIM…She maintains she was drugged with the alcohol on campus. There are conflicting reports whether she told people she was 17-or-18; told people she was a Grossmont College or High school student. She says she put together a written diary of the incident but police did not look at it.
THE BILLS..They maintain they were not aware of Arziza’s involvement until he told them late this week after the lawsuit was filed and became public. They maintained they wanted the truth, but could not conduct a full investigation. They have since said they canvassed 7-other NFL teams who had data on Arazia and none said they were aware of any off field issues with the kicker. The Bills interviewed him three times, starting with the combine, thru the SDSU pro day, ahd prior to the draft.
THE FAMILY…Went public with the story believing the SDPD probe had stalled. The lawyers also called the Bills to detail the lawsuit and alert them of the kicker’s involvement but said Buffalo never had a follow up conversation.
THE QUESTIONS…Alot to be answered.
..Does the word ‘consensual’ come into this conversation. Did the girl agree to have sex with the kicker? Did she tell him she was 18-or-17.?
.. That being said, if it was consensual, at age 17-it becomes statuatory rape.
.. Did Arazia take the woman into his room where she was assaulted-as if it was preplanned?
..If Araiza’s name was linked in social media in late fall, how come SDSU did not remove the player-players from the team in season till the investigation reached an outcome?
..How come it has taken 10-months in this probe and no charges have been filed?
..Has this become a ‘He Said-She Said’ case?
..Were the Bills pressured by the NFL to terminate his contract, considering the scandal the NFL just came thru with Deshaun Watson in Cleveland?
..Are there 2-separate cases here, Araiza’s sexual act with the teenager, and the violent acts of sex in the apartment?
There is a terrible sense of betrayal across the SDSU campus, that this highly rated draft pick, hid this story for over 10-months, went to the ceremonies for the Ray Guy Award and took all the accolades for his football achievements while carrying this story in his pocket.
It’s a dark moment in Araiza’s life and the story is far from over. Who knows if he plays pro football in the future? Who knows if a prison sentence is in his future?
The Aztecs celebrate the opening of their new stadium next Saturday, they celebrate 100-years of SDSU football, and the program continues to celebrate wins and bowl games under this coaching staff.
But what has happened since Thursday has cast a black cloud over festivities and stains a program of excellence on the field, and credibility of leadership by a bunch of good coaches.
No 82-yard punt by Araiza will get him out of trouble now.