Former Bills punter Matt Ariza said he plans to sue attorney Dan Gillion for defamation over a civil lawsuit filed by a lawyer who alleges the player participated in a gang rape.
Ariza was released by the Bills last August after he was accused of raping a 17-year-old girl with two of his former San Diego State football teammates near the school’s campus in the fall of 2021.
However, last month, the DA’s office concluded that Araiza was apparently not present during the alleged 2021 gang rape. But there is an ongoing civil case that is active.
Now, speaking on HBO’s Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel on Tuesday night, Ariza revealed that he has retained an attorney and will not settle the pending civil case, as he intends to sue Gillion for defamation.
‘I’ve already hired an attorney for it and things are already drafted,’ Araiza told HBO’s Andrea Kramer. ‘I will never give up the right to sue him. It’s coming.’
Former Bills punter Matt Ariza says he plans to file charges of involvement in a gang rape
The 23-year-old appeared on HBO’s Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel on Tuesday night
Gillion, who was also interviewed on the program, insisted that Araiza was not absolved of liability when asked about the DA’s office’s decision that the player left the party during the gang-rape.
‘We’re not saying he was, and we’re not saying he wasn’t,’ Gillian said. ‘ Let’s say he wasn’t one of the men there. It does not absolve him.’
The new theory that Gillian put forward on the show is that Ariza was part of a plan between “several men to target her client, get her drunk and take turns having sex with her during the night.”
However, this theory was not included in the original complaint.
‘Our complaint is, did he contribute too much to the harm he suffered that night,’ Gillian said.
‘He had sex with my client. After that, she ends up having sex with multiple boys and comes out bloody shocked.
‘Ended up in hospital, ended up with the police, and was traumatised. So that’s what I mean by gang rape. There may be gang rape for two days. They can happen over time. They can occur in multiple places. So that’s the clarification.’
Araiza, who said he was shocked when he first read the initial complaint, told HBO he was certain he ‘didn’t participate in any gang rape.’
Ariza was a sixth-round pick in the 2022 NFL Draft out of San Diego State
He admitted he had sex with the girl but said he believed it was consensual because he claimed the contact was initiated by him and he ‘made his intentions clear.’
Araiza, who currently lives at home with his parents, admitted sleeping with the girl only 15-20 minutes after meeting him was ‘stupid’ but insisted it did not deserve to be branded a ‘gang rapist’ by the media.
He also claimed that he was tried in the court of public opinion ‘within seconds’ without the opportunity to defend himself.
In May, Yahoo Sports reported on a 200-page unsealed document with a transcript of a conversation in which a deputy district attorney told the girl, who was 17 at the time of the allegations, why charges against Ariza were not pursued.
The DA’s office apparently concluded that Araiza left the party in San Diego at 12:30 a.m. on Oct. 15, 2021 — about an hour before the gang rape that Araiza is accused of participating in.
“She wasn’t even at the party,” Trisha Amador was quoted as saying to the girl via Yahoo. ‘All I know is that the suspect Araiza left the party at that time.’
The report added that there is a recording of the meeting with the girl with a time stamp of 1:30 am. Arizer was apparently a witness that helped prosecutors conclude that he had left about an hour earlier.
In February of this year, Ariza’s agent denied he was signing with a Mexican team to revive his career and said his client was hoping for another chance in the NFL.
Punter Ariza was cut by the Bills last year after the allegations came to light
Ariza is apparently hoping for another chance to carve out a career for himself in the NFL
Despite winning the starting job in training camp, the Bills released him in late August amid complaints and public pressure.
The Ray Guy Award winner – given to college football’s best punter – was a sixth-round pick in the 2022 NFL Draft and beat out veteran Matt Haack to become the Bills punter.
When the lawsuit came to light on Aug. 26, Buffalo initially protected Ariza, before finally cutting the then-22-year-old two days later.
General manager Brandon Bean said the organization was aware of Ariza’s version of events before bringing him to Orchard Park.
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