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. jay12312

    They need to go after the person who falsely accused him.

    May 31, 2012 at 1:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • doubledees

      this poor guy was in jail for 10 years for something he didnt do.............and this beech doesnt get punished for lying? I hope the courts arrest her...........and may she go to prison like he did for 10 years............lots of luck to you Brian.

      May 31, 2012 at 1:46 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Ace

    Why dose CNN hate women?

    May 31, 2012 at 1:26 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Jason

    That girl should get his sentence instead. 10+ years no probation.

    May 31, 2012 at 1:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • rs

      'That girl' also got $1.5 million after she sued the school. The school district had better go after her.

      May 31, 2012 at 2:46 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Ziva

    Will they now take his mug shot out of the system since, by law, he has never done anything wrong? Or will he have to pay somebody big dollars to get it of a website?

    May 31, 2012 at 1:52 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Berman

    That sorry excuse for a woman should be locked up for 20 years...

    May 31, 2012 at 1:53 pm | Report abuse |
  6. newsjunkie50

    That is wonderful!!! I am so happy for him!

    May 31, 2012 at 2:01 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Mike fromCalgary

    If he made College footbal history and played the last 6 years in the NFL making $3M per years, he has lost out on $18M, the Treasury Department has lost $7M in taxes. He has lost out forever on high school memories and college memories that can never be recaptured. It is so easy for the innocent to be convicted and Prosecutors and Jurors and Judges need to remember that. Nancy Grace needs to remember that too.
    THE PRESUMPTION OF INNOCENCE is there for a reason.
    Also What is so wrong with the US System of Justice that INNOCENT PEOPLE PLEAD NO CONTEST as in this case OR EVEN PLEAD GUILTY TO OFFENCES OF WHICH THEY ARE COMPLETELY INNOCENT.
    The movie GREEN MILE illustrates how askew the justice system can be.

    May 31, 2012 at 2:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • JEM

      Bad laws attract bad people to enforce them.
      Our War-on-Drugs has led to a situation where our police are thugs and our prosecutors are psychopaths. He plead no contest because he had little chance of winning against the prosecutorial misconduct that was coming. It happens all the time.

      Ultimately, this is the fault of the voters who demand "Get Tough on Crime" programs which they know tend to target the harmless and the innocent.

      May 31, 2012 at 2:14 pm | Report abuse |
  8. 2 interested

    I'm so glad that she told the truth. Good luck Brian

    May 31, 2012 at 2:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kris

      She didn't exactly tell the truth... she got caught admitting to it on tape. I hope she ends up getting charged for her wrong doings.

      May 31, 2012 at 2:14 pm | Report abuse |
  9. 2012MAN

    ridiculous how the poor man got accused and sent to jail he will not have those years back, but im happy for him... that woman should get life in prison

    May 31, 2012 at 2:14 pm | Report abuse |
  10. 2 interested

    He will get a standing ovation for sure.

    May 31, 2012 at 2:16 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Rob

    Hey CNN...he's not an ex-con. Sensationalizing you headlines is becoming a bad habit. Do your editors hope to become the new National Enquirer????

    May 31, 2012 at 2:18 pm | Report abuse |
  12. big e

    thank god she finally admitted she had lied. now she did give a sworn testimony saying he did do this crime. its perjury the charges should have already been put on her. brian you can do this, you have prepared yourself for 10yrs mentally , now go show what you can do. give your mother that smile that you have alwys dreamed of given to her.

    May 31, 2012 at 2:23 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Smitty

    Good luck Brian!

    May 31, 2012 at 2:42 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Mr.Ed

    Heck, ex cons get chances in the NFL all the time. The only bad part is this guy was falsely accused and had poor representation in court.

    May 31, 2012 at 2:42 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Doug

    Wish him luck. He should get millions whether he makes it in the league or not. As a football fan, I am wondering if he should try college football first just to get back in the groove. Unfortunately, it has been years since he played the game. I am afraid he is going to find it hard to adjust to the speed of the pro game right out of the gate, but regardless this is a great story. The women should send two days in jail for every day he had to do then be on probation for the rest of her life.

    May 31, 2012 at 2:45 pm | Report abuse |
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