Exonerated in rape case, man lines up NFL tryouts
Brian Banks breaks down in a California courtroom after his rape conviction is expunged.
May 31st, 2012
11:57 AM ET

Exonerated in rape case, man lines up NFL tryouts

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."

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Filed under: California • Football • Justice • Pro football
soundoff (164 Responses)
  1. Mary

    And the women? What has happened to her? Cnn you baffle me with that dangling question hanging out there.

    May 31, 2012 at 12:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • rafael

      She like all who have wrongly accused someone is probably avoiding the media as much as possible. Taking 10 years of someone life for no reason is horrible.

      May 31, 2012 at 12:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • Portland tony

      The Woman came forward on her own after legal advice. Her family won't have to return the $750K damages the school board payed out. LA prosecutors have said they are not going to pursue the matter.

      May 31, 2012 at 12:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mary

      @ Portland Tony, Thank you
      @ rafael, Agreed !

      This women *rayped* him of ten years and got off scott free! Doesn't feel good when a man does it to a women, what makes people think a man would feel any different?

      May 31, 2012 at 4:18 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Melissa

    why dont put her name out there that needs to be done so ppl dont accuse just to accuse and what they are not brought out in public. this poor young man did not deserve this nor did his family, put her and her family out there so they can feel the heat of the media as his family did.

    May 31, 2012 at 12:36 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Troyzkoi

    Lock her up for 10 yrs. for false reporting and perjury!!! Fair is Fair!!!

    May 31, 2012 at 12:36 pm | Report abuse |
  4. JackMcHawk

    the useless ho isn't being charged with anything, according to an earlier article. What a sick, sorry excuse for a woman to have put this poor guy thru hell. i hope he succeeds!

    May 31, 2012 at 12:38 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Robyn S

    I hope he fullfills his dream of making it to the NFL. What a horrible person to lie on this young man. He should sue her for all the money she got from suing the school district . This girl and her mother should go to prison. Dumb ghetto birds shm

    May 31, 2012 at 12:38 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Rob

    I hope karma gives her what she deserves.. women crying wolf for their own motives completely destroy the lives of innocent men.

    May 31, 2012 at 12:40 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Tony

    I would love to see the woman who falsely accused him go to prison, but that would only add to the overcrowded racket that is the US prison system.

    Her life, however, should be impacted significantly from now on whether that's financial garnishment or long-term public service. No one should be able to falsely accuse somebody else of something that heinous and remove years from their normal life without repercussions.

    May 31, 2012 at 12:40 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Joe

    Ok, now if I didn't do ANYTHING to this woman WHY ON EARTH would I take a Plea? I don't get it.

    May 31, 2012 at 12:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Robyn S

      Because his lawyer advised him he should and told him he could get 20+ years if a jury found him guilty so i would have done the same thing in his situation.

      May 31, 2012 at 12:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Errol

      Because the lawyer, who is supposed to defend you and give you the best legal advise, tells you "because you're a big black guy, no jury is going to believe you." He was 17, scared to death and facing 40 years. His public defender(my assumption it was a pd) should be sued for not vigorously defending him.

      May 31, 2012 at 1:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • Gerald

      He took the plea because otherwise he would've spent a lot more time in prison if convicted.

      May 31, 2012 at 2:58 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Trevor

    You're headline "Ex-Con gets tryout"....when he shouldn't be called an ex-Con...you are as bad as the women who accused this guy. And people who work for CNN can't figure out why more and more people aren't tuning into CNN...

    May 31, 2012 at 12:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mary

      Excellent point Trevor! Excellent point...

      May 31, 2012 at 1:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • James

      *Your 🙂

      May 31, 2012 at 1:09 pm | Report abuse |
  10. nemesis

    "After all I've been through these last 10 years, I can still do some things that will impress you."

    You already have, you already have.

    May 31, 2012 at 1:06 pm | Report abuse |
  11. James


    May 31, 2012 at 1:08 pm | Report abuse |
  12. jboHDrider

    Pete Carrol is awesome, the Hawks are going to do great this year and it would be perfect to see Mr Banks on the field this year.

    May 31, 2012 at 1:10 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Katonna

    EX-CON? SERIOUSLY? He NEVER commited a crime. He was LIED on so I REALLY hope they work on expunging his record so he won't be referred to as an EX-CON!

    May 31, 2012 at 1:11 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Veternswife

    The woman was black....if she had been white it would be everywhere...they should pay the 1.3 million her & her family got to HIM. Then do time for perjury.

    May 31, 2012 at 1:12 pm | Report abuse |
  15. banasy©

    I hope he can put his life back together.

    May 31, 2012 at 1:17 pm | Report abuse |
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