Brian Banks (American football)
Banks in 2013
No. -- Free Agent
|Date of birth:July 24, 1985|
|Place of birth: Los Angeles County, California, U.S.|
|High school: Long Beach (CA) Poly|
|Undrafted in 2007|
|Debuted in 2012 for the Las Vegas Locomotives|
|Roster status: Active|
Career NFL statistics
Career UFL statistics as of 2012
Brian Keith Banks (born July 24, 1985) is an American football linebacker and currently a free agent after being released by the Atlanta Falcons of the National Football League (NFL). Banks signed with the Atlanta Falcons on April 3, 2013 and was released in the final round of roster cuts on August 30, 2013. Banks previously signed as an undrafted free agent with the Las Vegas Locomotives of the United Football League in 2012.
Banks was a standout high school football star at Polytechnic High School (Poly) in Long Beach, California, and in 2002 had verbally committed to play for USC. After being falsely accused of rape by a classmate, he spent more than five years in prison, but had his conviction overturned in 2012 after his accuser was secretly recorded admitting she had fabricated the story. Following his exoneration, Banks sought to resume his football career, attending mini-camps for several NFL teams before signing with the Locomotives on September 20, 2012.
High school career
A native of Long Beach, California, Banks attended Long Beach Polytechnic High School, where he was teammates with DeSean Jackson, Darnell Bing, Winston Justice, and Marcedes Lewis. He was named one of Rivals.com's "Juniors to Watch" of the class of 2003, before being expelled from school due to the false rape accusations.
In the summer of 2012, Banks received tryouts with several NFL teams, including the Kansas City Chiefs, San Diego Chargers, and San Francisco 49ers. He attended minicamp with the Seattle Seahawks, whose head coach, Pete Carroll, was the one who had offered Banks a scholarship in 2002 when he was the head coach at USC.
Las Vegas Locomotives
Banks signed with the Falcons on April 3, 2013, and participated in Atlanta's offseason workouts, which began on April 22. He was competing for a spot on the team at inside linebacker. On August 8, 2013, Banks made his NFL debut in a preseason game against the Cincinnati Bengals, where he picked up two tackles. Banks was released by the Falcons on August 30, 2013 during the team's cuts from 75 players to 53.
Sexual assault case
In the summer of 2002, Banks was arrested and charged after classmate Wanetta Gibson said that he dragged her into a stairway at Polytechnic High School (Poly) and raped her. Prosecutors offered him a plea deal—plead guilty and face at most 18 months in prison, or go to trial and risk a sentence of 41 years to life in prison if convicted. Years later, Banks said that his lawyer advised him to take the plea deal, saying, "When you go into that courtroom, the jury is going to see a big black teenager and you're automatically going to be assumed guilty." A horrified Banks wanted to talk to his mother, but was told he had 10 minutes to decide whether to take the deal. Banks ultimately pleaded no contest to forcible rape and was sentenced to six years in prison and five years of probation. He also had to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life. Wanetta Gibson and her mother Wanda Rhodes sued the Long Beach Unified School District, claiming the Poly campus was not a safe environment, and won a $1.5 million settlement. In March 2011, Gibson contacted Banks on Facebook, met with him, and admitted that she had fabricated the story. Banks secretly recorded Gibson's confession, but she refused to tell prosecutors that she had lied so she wouldn't have to return the money she and her family had won in court. Nevertheless, with Gibson's taped admission and help from California Innocence Project attorneys, Los Angeles County prosecutors overturned Banks' conviction on May 24, 2012.
On April 12, 2013, the Long Beach Unified School District announced it was suing Wanetta Gibson for $2 million in an effort to recoup the $1.5 million she received, along with attorney's fees and punitive damages. On June 14, 2013, the school district won a $2.6 million judgment against Gibson, which includes the $750,000 settlement initially paid to her along with attorney's fees, interest, and $1 million in punitive damages.
Banks now serves as a spokesperson for the California Innocence Project and is working on a documentary about his story.
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- Former Long Beach Football Star Exonerated After Being Convicted Of Rape. KCBS-TV, 2012-05-24.
- "Ex-Poly standout has rape and kidnapping conviction reversed – USATODAY.com". Usatoday30.usatoday.com. 2012-05-24. Retrieved 2013-04-03.
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- Lowrey, Brandon (April 12, 2013). "Long Beach School District Sues Brian Banks' Accuser for $2M". NBC Los Angeles. Retrieved August 9, 2013.
- Mellen, Greg (June 14, 2013). "Long Beach Unified wins judgment against accuser in false rape case against Brian Banks". Press-Telegram. Retrieved August 9, 2013.