May 22, 2023

Matt Araiza Believes He Deserves Shot at NFL: Matt Araiza was one of the most hyped college punters in decades going into the 2022 NFL Draft, an NCAA record setter with a 51.19 yard average called "Punt God" by fans. Drafted by the Buffalo Bills in the sixth round and named the starter, he was released before playing a game after being accused in a civil lawsuit of gang rape at a San Diego State off-campus party. The school's investigation found no wrongdoing by Araiza and the D.A. has announced it is not pressing charges. He's fighting to clear his name and get back to the NFL. "There was a time in this country and in the world where a woman would come forward and no one would believe them, and that's not right. But the pendulum has swung to the other end. And it feels like it's instantly believed, and I don't think that’s right, either," Araiza said.

posted by rcade to football at 01:32 PM - 5 comments

Jesus, what a hornets nest. I have zero opinion on whether Araiza is guilty or innocent of a crime, and zero opinion on whether he should allowed to play in the NFL. I just came to note how insanely difficult that prosecutor's job is. She has to be able to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, and from the facts presented here, I don't think there is any way she can do that.

posted by tahoemoj at 04:40 PM on May 22, 2023

The detail that must have disheartened advocates working on these types of issues is the statement from the alleged victim to the DA: "I could have just not reported this and probably been happier".

posted by beaverboard at 05:33 PM on May 22, 2023

Reading the story, this isn't one of those "he said/she said" situations, where he thought it was consensual and she didn't. All the evidence suggests that he wasn't even there at the time things happened, and the accuser being blackout drunk at the time things happened doesn't lend her accusation against him much credibility. There is zero evidence he was involved, let alone guilty of any wrongdoing. So yes, he absolutely deserves an opportunity after getting railroaded like this. It would be grossly unfair if he didn't.

posted by TheQatarian at 11:08 PM on May 22, 2023

There is zero evidence he was involved, let alone guilty of any wrongdoing.

I think that's overstating it a bit, since she was underage and drunk, and he did admittedly have sex with her, albeit not in the group setting that ultimately led her to report this as a crime. Sure, he might have believed she was of age (18), but she was still being served copious amounts of booze and apparently visibly intoxicated. That said, I'm guessing he was intoxicated, as well, and drunk 21-year old men aren't exactly paragons of sound judgment.

Like I said before, it's a hornet's nest. I'm not ready to crucify the guy, but I'm not ready to declare him guilt-free, either.

posted by tahoemoj at 04:17 PM on May 23, 2023

If he makes an NFL roster, the appropriate purgatory for Araiza might be for him to end up punting in a city with wet, heavy air like Seattle or one of the Florida teams.

Although kicking in Miami never daunted Reggie Roby. The guy boomed it.

One can only imagine what Roby's average hang time would have been like in Denver.

posted by beaverboard at 05:49 PM on May 23, 2023

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