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. krehator

    "Fearing a potentially long sentence, he followed the advice of his attorney and pleaded no contest to assaulting a classmate."

    and this is where are justice system has become a joke. The govt can force you into a situation to accept punishment, merely because you cannot protect yourself properly. No more truth. No more guilty or innocent. It's all about bullying.

    Our govt and law enforcement has become a gang of thugs who no longer believe in the intent or spirit of true liberty.

    June 1, 2012 at 1:53 am | Report abuse |
  2. krehator

    Where is the justice for this man, and all that he has lost because of a vicious accuser and a prosecution that did not question it?

    Being set free is not enough In my book.

    Wouldn't it be great if police were motivated to find the truth instead of just prosecuting people? Who do they work for? Just the DA?

    June 1, 2012 at 2:02 am | Report abuse |
    • Al S.

      I agree being free is not enough justice.. however if he can finally get to play in the NFL and seeing that 6 teams already invited him for tryouts... its a good start. If for some reason he doesn't make it in..would be nice for one of the NFL teams to offer him a job on the team wether it be a assistant or trainer..something like that. ALSO sue the turds off the family that accused him. Take everything they have because they took away part of his life and a stigma that will follow him to the end even though he didn't do anything wrong.

      June 1, 2012 at 12:00 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Tony in STL

    Why shouldn't his accuser get 6 years of imprisonment for lying to the courts and everyone else? They really should start punishing false accusers. I wish this guy well!!!

    June 1, 2012 at 2:21 am | Report abuse |
    • Omar

      Don;t worry about that. it is not a crime to lie if she wasn;t under oath. In any event, he'll sue her and take a portion from every paycheck she has for the rest of his life.

      June 1, 2012 at 10:13 am | Report abuse |
    • melody

      I agree

      June 1, 2012 at 11:54 am | Report abuse |
  4. sgt 2tuff

    Let him work at Micky d's for a few years

    June 1, 2012 at 3:38 am | Report abuse |
    • finman1960

      So, you would train him how to make French fries. You are definitely a nice guy.

      June 1, 2012 at 3:45 am | Report abuse |
    • Jay

      No, you should work at McD's. What a poor excuse you are for a human being.

      June 1, 2012 at 8:50 am | Report abuse |
    • Omar

      You're little "too tough", Anyone on this thread, including woman, can kick your butt.

      June 1, 2012 at 10:14 am | Report abuse |
  5. afan

    I wish this man luck and to forward to seeing him on the field! Remember the Ron LaFlore (Detroit Tigers) story. It can happen!

    June 1, 2012 at 4:59 am | Report abuse |
  6. Erik

    CNN, shouldn't you refrain from labeling an exonerated man an ex-con?

    June 1, 2012 at 5:20 am | Report abuse |
    • LFH

      Agreed!!! Refer to him as 'falsely accused' or anything but not ex-con.

      June 1, 2012 at 9:14 am | Report abuse |
  7. CookingManATL

    I am with Tony from STL. Put the accuser away for a long time. She ruins this man's life and gets away with a "sorry?" She also doesn't admit to her crime, she has to be coerced into admitting it by him in a clandestine manner. She needs to pay for what she did.

    June 1, 2012 at 5:21 am | Report abuse |
    • Omar

      He can sue her for in civil court. Also, if she lied under oath, deposition, etc., then she'll go to jail. Lying to police or any other is not a crime.

      June 1, 2012 at 10:16 am | Report abuse |
  8. BlueSkies

    What a tragedy for this innocent man to sit in a prison for all these years. Brian Banks should definitely be compensated, but I suspect that no amount of money will make up for what he's been through. Where is his accuser in all of this??? Perhaps she should be sent to prison for the same amount of time to think about what her lies have done to Brian Banks. What is wrong with people???

    June 1, 2012 at 6:23 am | Report abuse |
    • Thetruth

      Make her pay back the 1+million dollars she got when her family sued the school district!!

      June 1, 2012 at 8:48 am | Report abuse |
  9. Overused

    she should be sent to prison for at least 6 years and order to pay the millions in lost salary he would have made, which would mean she would be paying for the rest of her life, it's time to make an example of these false accusers and where are the pictures of her, pictures of this loser should be posted everywhere

    June 1, 2012 at 8:16 am | Report abuse |
  10. Glenn of the North

    I agree with the others that say this man should NOT be labeled an Ex-Con. How about being honest and respectful and call him a freed man or cleared or innocent man.

    June 1, 2012 at 8:42 am | Report abuse |
  11. Outraged

    This is just ashame how justice is not served and will never truly be served in this case. Yrs of this man's life wasted over a lie and nothing is done to this woman. Why is it that the DA hasn't pursued charges against this chick who openly lied in a court room and decieved the justice system? Countless times this has happened to innocent men and nothing is every done to the accuser. When will the so called justice system changed to protect the falsely accused.?

    June 1, 2012 at 8:44 am | Report abuse |
  12. Jay

    He is not an ex-con. He is an innocent man convicted of something he didn't do. No wonder CNN is doing poorly. You should try harder to report the correct story and perhaps do a little investigation rather than trying to be the first to post a story on the web. It would go a long way toward restoring your integrity.

    June 1, 2012 at 8:48 am | Report abuse |
  13. Squitter

    Brian – I wish you all the luck in the world! The accuser should be incarcerated and all the money she sued for taken back. Brain was railroaded and did 6 years......John Edwards....man of money gets off scot free and a middle class kid of 17 that was innocent goes to jail......Hey, Money does make the law??????????

    June 1, 2012 at 9:25 am | Report abuse |
  14. Leti

    I am elated for him. I do agree that she should somehow have to pay for this. Repay any money earned on her part and pay any money lost on his part back to him…scholarships are not easy to come by…that sounded like a full ride for all 4 years to me.
    However, for whatever reason he was with this person initially, is beyond all of us, but I think that he has learned his lesson and I am HOPING, that many young African American males have read this article.

    June 1, 2012 at 9:46 am | Report abuse |
  15. Nikki

    This man isn't an ex-con for crying out loud!! He's a man who lost nearly everything to a false victim. I wish him the best and hope to see him play on the NFL.

    June 1, 2012 at 11:29 am | Report abuse |
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