A Southern California man exonerated last week on a decade-old rape conviction was looking ahead Thursday to try to relaunch a dream taken from him because of prison time he served in the case, the chance to play in the National Football League.
Brian Banks was a football standout at Long Beach Polytechnic High School and had been offered a scholarship to play at the University of Southern California when he was accused of rape.
Fearing a potentially long sentence, he followed the advice of his attorney and pleaded no contest to assaulting a classmate.
But he maintained his innocence throughout nearly six years of imprisonment, subsequent probation and registration as a sex offender.
And, according to the California Innocence Project, the woman later admitted that Banks had not kidnapped or raped her during a consensual encounter.
A judge in California tossed out his conviction last week.
It didn't take long for NFL teams to start contacting Banks with tryout invitations, according to news reports, with six in line to work him out.
First among them was the Seattle Seahawks, coached by Pete Carroll, the same man who offered that scholarship to Banks a decade ago, according to a report in the Seattle Times.
"I feel very confident in getting that tryout and producing on the field," Banks said. "I've been working extremely hard for this opportunity."
Banks was a linebacker in high school, and his team won a state championship when he was a junior, according to the Seattle Times report.
A Super Bowl championship is obviously a long way away, but the 6-foot-2, 245-pound Banks told ESPN's Rick Reilly he has been working out since October and is confident he's ready to take the first step in the NFL.
"I'll make 'em happy," ESPN quotes him as saying. "After all I've been through these last 10 years, I can still do some things that will impress you."
II would like to see this woman punished just as bad as the rest of you. But if she and others like her were punished for this, then we would be asking people to choose between themselves being in trouble or someone else being in trouble. As much as I would like to believe in people, the cynical side of me says there are many out there who would rather the other person sat in jail even if its the clearly wrong thing to do. Sad.
CNN, he is not a ex-con, he was wrongly convicted. Brian, good luck on your NFL future, you deserve to see your dreams come true, bad karma will take care of your accuser.
He is not an ex-con! He was exonerated and wrongfully accused. This poor man has spent 5 years in prison for a crime he did not commit. How about we show some respect, CNN!
Right on, Beau. Let's hope the man makes it big in the sports world after this horrible, unnecessary debacle. I hope he becomes a star just to be able to say he overcame it all, inspite of the unfairness of it.
Maybe if the accusser is sentenced to the same amount of time he served, it would serve as an example for the next person who thinks its cool to falsely accuse somebody of a crime.
BRAVO !! Well said !! and I hope the very best for the young man !!
HOpe you get the break you deserve in the NFL , Brian ! You deserve a break.... and.... the 1.5 million that your accuser was paid !!!!
Actually as much as I would love for him to get the money, that money should go back to Long Beach. That is TAX DOLLARS that were given to her.
This is a very sad situation um im almost speechless. First of all young man thank GOD finally came clean. Brian just no that God does everything for a reason and i admit that its hard to see the good when theres obviously a bad situation before you. You may not see it now but he will reveal the reason to you one day. I wish you the best in your hopeful NFL future. as for her she should have some kind of punishment and repay the money. he should be rewarded after all he's been through. no the money could never replace the time he lost in life but he should compensated.
If you want to impress someone.. Get a job and pay taxes like most of us do..
I am sure glad you are not a motivational speaker.
Why would make a comment like that, John?
YES ! Someone who falsey accuses someone and then recants should be made to serve the original sentence of the accused ! I totally agree !!!
YES!!! I've been following his story and was hoping some teams would give him a chance.
Knock 'em out champ!!!
YES!!! I've been following his story and hoped some teams would give him a chance.
Knock 'em out champ!!!!
Leave it on the field!!!!
CNN, doing what the media does best twist the truth! Here is some NEWS for you CNN, He is not an EX-CON!! Good luck to this young man! I think justice would be for this woman to be charge!
i must agree this young man who was falsely accused and spent 10 yrs in jail should not be called a ex-con...
Good luck, Brian!
This woman need to be arrested ,,,forever.people like her is because is not justice
Remove the Ex-Con from the headline. It should read "Wrongly Accused – Improperly Incarcerated – Exonerated Man gets shot at NFL"
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