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. Anna

    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.

    May 31, 2012 at 5:25 pm | Report abuse |
  2. RetiredVet

    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.

    May 31, 2012 at 5:39 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Beau

    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!

    May 31, 2012 at 5:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Commojoe

      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.

      May 31, 2012 at 9:33 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Stlrfan4life

    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.

    May 31, 2012 at 5:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • MajeztyRene'

      BRAVO !! Well said !! and I hope the very best for the young man !!

      May 31, 2012 at 7:01 pm | Report abuse |
  5. luke

    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 !!!!

    May 31, 2012 at 5:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Michael

      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.

      May 31, 2012 at 7:17 pm | Report abuse |
  6. sholden

    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.

    May 31, 2012 at 6:16 pm | Report abuse |
  7. john

    If you want to impress someone.. Get a job and pay taxes like most of us do..

    May 31, 2012 at 6:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • herbert

      I am sure glad you are not a motivational speaker.

      May 31, 2012 at 7:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • dana


      May 31, 2012 at 8:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • johndanger

      Why would make a comment like that, John?

      May 31, 2012 at 9:51 pm | Report abuse |
  8. MajeztyRene'

    YES ! Someone who falsey accuses someone and then recants should be made to serve the original sentence of the accused ! I totally agree !!!

    May 31, 2012 at 7:04 pm | Report abuse |
  9. jaylee

    YES!!! I've been following his story and was hoping some teams would give him a chance.

    Knock 'em out champ!!!

    May 31, 2012 at 7:07 pm | Report abuse |
  10. jaylee

    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!!!!

    May 31, 2012 at 7:09 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Patty Davis

    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!

    May 31, 2012 at 7:46 pm | Report abuse |
  12. mboyd

    i must agree this young man who was falsely accused and spent 10 yrs in jail should not be called a ex-con...

    May 31, 2012 at 7:46 pm | Report abuse |
  13. sayer

    Good luck, Brian!

    May 31, 2012 at 7:56 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Ross

    This woman need to be arrested ,,,forever.people like her is because is not justice

    May 31, 2012 at 8:17 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Steve

    Remove the Ex-Con from the headline. It should read "Wrongly Accused – Improperly Incarcerated – Exonerated Man gets shot at NFL"

    May 31, 2012 at 8:36 pm | Report abuse |
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