Former inmate exonerated in rape case joins pro football team
Brian Banks speaks at a press conference in Las Vegas on Thursday.
September 21st, 2012
08:08 AM ET

Former inmate exonerated in rape case joins pro football team

Brian Banks' professional football dream is one step closer to coming true.

A decade ago, Banks was a football standout at Long Beach Polytechnic High School in California and had been offered a scholarship to play at the University of Southern California.

Then 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 in May.

On Thursday, Banks, 26,  had his first practice with the Las Vegas Locomotives of the United Football League, a four-team minor league circuit. He hopes to be on the field Wednesday in the Locos home opener against the Virginia Destroyers.

“There was a point in my life where I literally had to put football aside to survive in prison. I came home in 2007, went to junior college, and then had to wear a GPS tracking device and I could not play football. But I never lost faith, and I never lost that passion for it,” Banks said at a press conference on Thursday.

Locomotives coach and general manager Jim Fassel says Banks, a 6-foot-4, 245-pound linebacker, has the character to excel at professional football.

"I can only imagine the toughness he has had to show over the last however many years. For him to clearly set his goals and go after them, he’s mentally tough. He has all the characteristics you want of someone on your team," Fassel, a former NFL coach, said at the press conference Thursday.

Banks worked out with NFL teams earlier this year and they told him what he needs to do to make it to the sport's top level. Then he got the call from the Locomotives.

“This has been an amazing journey,” he said Thursday. "This is big, a giant step to my overall pursuit of playing in the NFL. I think this is the best way to gain experience. I thank God for the opportunity.”

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Filed under: California • Football • Justice • Las Vegas • Nevada • Sports
soundoff (191 Responses)
  1. Scott

    The man hating lеѕbоѕ won't allow one of their lying 'sisters" to be punished. Remember that the man hating lеѕbоѕ claim that deep down all men are rаріѕtѕ.


    September 21, 2012 at 9:45 am | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      Not getting much lately, are you Scott? A wee bit too much anger....

      September 21, 2012 at 1:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Livingston

      What a stupid comment, Scott.


      September 21, 2012 at 2:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • akmac64

      The only hatred seen here is coming from you. Your comment has nothing to do with the article.

      September 22, 2012 at 8:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • P-Dubs

      If Scott is referring to the feminists then his remark has everything to do with this article. It is the policies that they push for that allow women to get away with this. This is cause and effect. You can't look at the effect and ignore the cause if you hope for a problem to be corrected. This isn't just 1 isolated incident but a trend.

      September 23, 2012 at 10:57 am | Report abuse |
    • banasy©

      What feminists?
      What feminists is he referring to?
      I am female, and there is no justification in the world for what this woman did...and no female in their right mind would condone this behavior, as it minimizes the women who actually are victimized...once again, his comment about "stylish women deleters" was wholly nonsensical, and had nothing to do with what feminists really stand for: women's rights.
      What this woman did WASN'T right, and no true "feminist" would condone it.

      September 23, 2012 at 3:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • Republican Money

      Is that what all the girls who won't sleep with you say? That they're lesbian? hahahahaha!

      September 24, 2012 at 4:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • R Rickert

      So much hate when you should be rejoicing

      September 29, 2012 at 11:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • R Rickert

      So much hate !!! You should be rejoicing

      September 29, 2012 at 11:30 pm | Report abuse |
  2. ELH

    There should be more young men like Banks in the NFL rather than some of the thugs that currently sully the sport.

    September 21, 2012 at 9:49 am | Report abuse |
  3. Nisha

    What do you mean IF? CLEARLY it was UNTRUE!!!

    September 21, 2012 at 9:51 am | Report abuse |
  4. Why

    Sad. Wasted 6 years of his life for nothing.

    September 21, 2012 at 9:57 am | Report abuse |
  5. doubledees

    I hope Brian achieves all his dreams. The woman that lied should be sent to prison and feel what Brian felt for 6 years. Good luck Brian!!!!

    September 21, 2012 at 10:01 am | Report abuse |
    • Adrienne


      September 21, 2012 at 10:09 am | Report abuse |
    • football lover

      completely agree..

      September 21, 2012 at 11:07 am | Report abuse |
  6. yeahalright

    She should do 6 years

    September 21, 2012 at 10:02 am | Report abuse |
  7. Drew

    Hopefully everything works out well for Brian. He deserves it!

    September 21, 2012 at 10:04 am | Report abuse |
  8. Paul

    ABSOLUTELY she should be in prison right now! i wish him all the best. He is a much better example than the other real criminals in the NFL. Heck, The Dallas Cowboys wouldn't even be able to field a team in the '80s if it were not for parole and work release!

    September 21, 2012 at 10:05 am | Report abuse |
    • choppertrash

      Most NFL huddles are a known consortium of felons...

      September 21, 2012 at 10:43 am | Report abuse |
  9. Mark

    The accuser should be made to serve the same prison sentence that he had. See how she likes her life being messed with. Good luck Brian, it's a shame that 6 years were stolen from you, but all you can do now is look forward!

    September 21, 2012 at 10:06 am | Report abuse |
  10. Adrienne

    I don't think he should be called an "ex-inmate". He was wrongfully accused and will be fully exhonorated. It's disrespectul, Brad Lendon.

    September 21, 2012 at 10:08 am | Report abuse |
  11. thundercrunk

    this ignorant woman should be thrown in jail for double the time. 12 years sounds good to me.

    September 21, 2012 at 10:18 am | Report abuse |
  12. USA2WORK

    not only did she lie about it... the black HO sued the school for several million and won...

    September 21, 2012 at 10:22 am | Report abuse |
    • aavant

      "black HO"? How do you know her race, and why is that relevant?

      September 21, 2012 at 11:37 am | Report abuse |
    • Perry

      I read she is white

      September 21, 2012 at 3:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mel

      She's black & was dating this guy when this all happend.

      September 25, 2012 at 3:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tim

      Really. I had read she was a "minority". Hmmm, actually then you're right, that would make her white.

      September 27, 2012 at 8:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • Marilyn

      Ignorance, race didn't even occur to me, why should it?

      September 21, 2012 at 3:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Iknoweverything

      Look at her picture for cryin out loud. Black Ho is spot on.

      September 22, 2012 at 11:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • R Rickert

      Udontknow f all

      September 29, 2012 at 11:33 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Paul

    An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. Put her away...

    September 21, 2012 at 10:24 am | Report abuse |
  14. Justin

    Not only will the woman not face any sort of penalty for the story, but she also isn't required to pay back the $1.5M that she got in the subsequent lawsuit. American justice system at its finest!

    September 21, 2012 at 10:24 am | Report abuse |
    • Livingston

      Yes, she should have to pay that all back, better yet: give it to HIM!

      September 21, 2012 at 2:08 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Irene Done

    How many pro footballers are future inmates?

    September 21, 2012 at 10:25 am | Report abuse |
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