SAN DIEGO — Former San Diego State and Buffalo Bills punter Matt Araiza spoke to FOX 5 Tuesday after allegations of rape and a civil lawsuit filed against him.
“My name will never be the same,” Araiza said during a one-on-one interview with FOX 5’s Zara Barker.
Araiza said he was choosing to speak out now, “because now people don’t just have to believe me at my word, there’s a mountain of evidence that supports my innocence,” he said.
Araiza has denied allegations he was involved in an alleged rape at a party in October 2021, but has admitted to having consensual sex with the accuser. District attorney records obtained last week say Araiza left the party an hour before the alleged rape happened. Prosecutors said video evidence they obtained during the investigation show a sexual incident involving the accuser and multiple men. But, the district attorney investigators said Araiza left the party an hour before the alleged rape happened.
A civil lawsuit against Araiza is still working its way through the legal system.
“It’s been a slow process,” Araiza said. “It’s a rare thing for someone’s life to be basically held hostage by a civil lawsuit. For most people, they can continue going to their job, they can continue with their day-to-day life. But for me, that hasn’t been the case. I have basically been at home, unemployed, unable to find work. It’s just completely put my life on hold.”
Araiza said he’s still in training and said his agent has been in talks with NFL teams.
“I would consider a settlement that had zero dollar signs attached to it,” Araiza said. “I’m not willing to pay money to someone who damaged me and lied about me and caused a lot of harm to me and my family. I’m not willing to do that. I would be willing to end this and waive my right to sue her and countersue her and allow us both to move on with our lives, but I will never waive the right to sue Gilleon.”
After the interview, FOX 5 contacted the accuser’s attorney for a response to Araiza’s plans to countersue.
Gilleon said, “Araiza needs to wake up, get over himself and deal with reality.”