By now, anyone who follows news in the NFL has heard about the gang-rape accusations tied to now-former Buffalo Bills punter Matt Araiza. Araiza was released from the team over the weekend after intense outcry from the fanbase and criticism from the media regarding the way the situation was handled from the start.
Bills players are just beginning to speak to reporters about how these circumstances have affected the team.
Dion Dawkins on the release of P Matt Araiza and the lasting impact it may have on the #Bills locker room: “We’re already past it. It’s over with.” #BillsMafia @Batavia_Daily pic.twitter.com/cvYpHGXPBa— alex brasky (@alexbrasky) August 29, 2022
“We’re already past it. It’s over with. It’s done,” Bills left tackle Dion Dawkins responded when asked about it. “It’s not here, it’s not a problem.”
He was then asked how he has navigated the past four days as a team leader. “Control what you can. We’re not law enforcement officers, we’re not judges, we’re not lawyers. We don’t deal with any of that stuff. Focusing on the ball is already more than enough for us to handle,” Dawkins said.
Finally, Dawkins spoke about compartmentalizing. “It’s hard because, like, I have three kids. I have two girls and a son. Anytime where anything happens, like as a guy, you get just that thought of like, ‘Damn, I got kids, I got sisters, I got moms, I got daughters.’ You never know.” The thoughts always come but you just gotta try and keep your mind right and not think about stuff you can’t control,” he stated with emotion.
Bills veteran center Mitch Morse also spoke on the situation.
"It really is such a trying time."— Dan Fetes (@danfetes) August 29, 2022
Mitch Morse provides a thoughtful perspective of what the last few days have been like inside the #BillsMafia locker room. pic.twitter.com/OjOvDedE6z
“It really is such a trying time. It’s unfortunate but I think they handled it as well as they could,” Morse explained. “You try not to have the Court of Public Opinion affect yourself but it’s hard not to. It’s just one of those things that, in the end, was a hard decision for the organization to make. I think they made the one that made the most sense.”
Morse also gave some insight on how certain players handled it. “As a guy in the locker room, it’s tough. Some guys have kids and it makes you think of both situations,” he said. “I think it was one of those great tests as a group to see where we could go from mentally. It was right before a game. I thought the guys were able to compartmentalize it.”
Morse also added that it caused some healthy conversations between the guys in the locker room. “I just hope at the end that both parties find some peace in this and it sorts itself out,” he stated.