Brian Banks (American football)

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Brian Banks
Brian Banks 1.jpg
No. 53
Position:Linebacker
Personal information
Born: (1985-07-24) July 24, 1985 (age 33)
Los Angeles County, California, United States
Height:6 ft 3 in (1.91 m)
Weight:250 lb (113 kg)
Career information
High school:Long Beach Polytechnic
(Long Beach, California)
College:None
Undrafted:2007
Career history
 * Offseason and/or practice squad member only
Career NFL statistics
Player stats at NFL.com

Brian Banks (born July 24, 1985)[1] is a former American football linebacker. He signed with the Atlanta Falcons of the National Football League (NFL) on April 3, 2013.[2][3] Banks previously signed as an undrafted free agent with the Las Vegas Locomotives of the United Football League in 2012.[4][5]

Banks was a standout high school football star at Polytechnic High School (Poly) in Long Beach, California. In 2002, his Junior year, Banks verbally committed to USC.[6] After being falsely accused of rape by classmate Wanetta Gibson, he spent more than five years in prison and five years on strict custody parole, but had his conviction overturned in 2012 after his accuser admitted she had fabricated the entire story. Following his exoneration, Banks sought to resume his football career, playing for the now defunct United Football League (UFL), attending mini-camps for several NFL teams, and later signing with the Atlanta Falcons.

High school career[edit]

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,[7] before being expelled from school due to a rape accusation, later shown to be false.

Professional career[edit]

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.[2][8]

Las Vegas Locomotives[edit]

Banks signed with the Las Vegas Locomotives of the UFL on September 20, 2012, appearing in two games and making one tackle before the UFL suspended its season in October.[9]

Atlanta Falcons[edit]

Banks signed with the Falcons on April 3, 2013, participating in Falcons offseason workouts, OTA's, and training camp. [10] [11] Banks made his NFL debut in a preseason game against the Cincinnati Bengals, where he picked up two tackles.[12][13] He played four preseason games with the Falcons before being released on August 30, 2013.[14]

National Football League (NFL)[edit]

Brian Banks after his exoneration

In 2014, Banks was asked by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to speak at the 2014 NFL draft Rookie Symposium. Banks accepted and his speech was well received. A few weeks later, he was hired to join the NFL Department of Operations.[15][16]

False accusation of sexual assault[edit]

In the summer of 2002, Banks was arrested and charged after classmate Wanetta Gibson falsely accused him of dragging her into a stairway at Polytechnic High School (Poly) and raping her. Faced with a possible 41 years to life sentence, he accepted a plea deal that included five years in prison, five years of probation, and registering as a sex offender. 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.[17][18] Banks says that the lawyer said that by pleading guilty he would receive probation, but no jail time.[19]

Confession of false accusation[edit]

In March 2011, Gibson contacted Banks on Facebook, met with him, and admitted in the presence of an attorney that she had fabricated the story. Banks secretly recorded Gibson's confession, but she later 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.[18]

California Innocence Project[edit]

Prior to the taped confession, Banks had asked for help from the California Innocence Project (CIP), a nonprofit law school clinic run by the San Diego-based law school California Western School of Law that investigates and litigates cases of factual innocence, but at that time there had not been sufficient evidence of Banks' innocence for them to take on the case. However, after the confession, CIP decided to make this the organization's first case involving a wrongfully convicted person who had already been released from prison.[18]

The video evidence was not admissible in court, because the video had been made without Gibson's knowledge or consent and was not accompanied by a signed confession from the young woman. However, CIP was instrumental in putting together additional evidence supporting Banks’ story, which led the district attorney to dismiss all charges against him on May 24, 2012. He was also released from sex-offender status, allowing him to resume his aborted sports career.[19][20][21]

Banks supports CIP in its efforts on behalf of the wrongly-convicted, including participating in CIP's 2013 Innocence March.[22] He often wears a shirt with the lettering "XONR8" ("exonerate").[19][22]

School lawsuit[edit]

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.[23] 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.[24][25] Gibson has gone into hiding and failed to appear at all court dates. She was due a second $750,000 payment under terms of the original 2007 deal, which was cancelled.[26]

Film project[edit]

A feature film project based on Banks' story, co-executive produced by Banks himself and Justin Brooks of CIP, is currently filming.[27][28] It is directed by Tom Shadyac, the creator of such films as Bruce Almighty and Evan Almighty, and features Aldis Hodge as Brian Banks, Greg Kinnear as Brooks and Tiffany Dupont as CIP attorney Alissa Bjerkhoel.[27] The movie is to be released sometime in 2018.[28]

In January 2018 Banks joined the Oxygen channel's series "Final Appeal", cohosting with Loni Coombs. The duo re-examine crimes in which the guilty verdict is in question; and attempt to discover and reevaluate evidence to help the convicted either achieve an appeal, or definitively determine guilt. The show intends to help those wrongly convicted, as Banks was.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "California Births, 1905 - 1995". Family Tree Legends. Retrieved August 9, 2013.
  2. ^ a b Adams, Jay (3 April 2013). "Falcons Sign LB Brian Banks". atlantafalcons.com. Retrieved 3 April 2013.
  3. ^ "Brian Banks released by Atlanta Falcons". NFL.com. 2013-08-30. Retrieved 2015-04-10.
  4. ^ "Brian Banks to play for Locomotives". ESPN. Associated Press. September 19, 2012. Retrieved August 9, 2013.
  5. ^ CBS/AP (September 19, 2012). "Brian Banks, football player exonerated in rape case, to sign with UFL team". CBS News. Retrieved August 9, 2013.
  6. ^ Associated Press (20 September 2012). "Brian Banks signs with Las Vegas UFL team". Press-Telegram. Retrieved 21 September 2012.
  7. ^ Kimbrel, Rick (March 29, 2002). "Junior To Watch: Brian Banks". Rivals.com. Retrieved August 9, 2013.
  8. ^ "Pete Carroll excited to give Brian Banks a chance | ProFootballTalk". Profootballtalk.nbcsports.com. Retrieved 2013-04-03.
  9. ^ Farnsworth, Clare. "Seahawks.com Blog | Brian Banks gets another shot at NFL". Blog.seahawks.com. Retrieved 2013-04-03.
  10. ^ Shoichet, Catherine (4 April 2013). "Exonerated Brian Banks signs with Atlanta Falcons". CNN.com. Turner Broadcasting System. Retrieved 4 April 2013.
  11. ^ "Atlanta Falcons sign exonerated Brian Banks". ESPN. 2012-05-12. Retrieved 2013-04-03.
  12. ^ "Exonerated Football Player Brian Banks Back on the Gridiron After Five Years in Prison". ABC News. Retrieved 12 August 2013.
  13. ^ De Artola, Alicia (August 8, 2013). "Brian Banks makes NFL debut after false rape conviction". Fansided. Retrieved August 9, 2013.
  14. ^ Patra, Kevin (August 30, 2013). "Brian Banks released by Atlanta Falcons". National Football League. Retrieved August 30, 2013.
  15. ^ "Exonerated of rape, Brian Banks now realizing NFL dream – in different capacity". Yahoo! Sports. Retrieved 27 January 2015.
  16. ^ "BANKS' NFL DREAM LEADS TO LEAGUE OFFICE". Atlanta Falcons. Retrieved 27 January 2015.
  17. ^ "Ex-Poly standout has rape and kidnapping conviction reversed". USA Today. Gannett. 2012-05-24. Retrieved 2013-04-03.
  18. ^ a b c "A 10-year nightmare over rape conviction is over". Los Angeles Times. 2012-05-25. Retrieved 2013-04-03.
  19. ^ a b c Myers, Gary (2015-01-25). "Brian Banks spent five years in prison after being falsely accused of rape, but now he finally has a career in NFL". New York Daily News. Retrieved 6 January 2018.
  20. ^ "Brian Banks". California Innocence Project. California Innocence Project. Retrieved 6 January 2018.
  21. ^ Koehler, Francie (12 December 2013). "Exonerating the Innocent". PI’s Declassified. VoiceAmerica. Retrieved 6 January 2018.
  22. ^ a b Cocca, Christina (11 May 2013). "Brian Banks and His Mother Join "Innocence March" to Protest Wrongful Convictions". NBC-4 Los Angeles. NBC. Retrieved 6 January 2018.
  23. ^ Lowrey, Brandon (April 12, 2013). "Long Beach School District Sues Brian Banks' Accuser for $2M". NBC Los Angeles. Retrieved August 9, 2013.
  24. ^ 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.
  25. ^ Mellen, Greg (2018-06-14). "Long Beach Unified wins judgment against accuser in false rape case against Brian Banks". Los Angeles Daily News. Retrieved 2018-11-19.
  26. ^ "Prosecution of false accuser in rape case seen as difficult". LA Times. 2012-05-26. Retrieved 2018-11-19.
  27. ^ a b Lee, Ashley (28 September 2017). "Tiffany Dupont Joins Greg Kinnear in Brian Banks Drama". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 6 January 2018.
  28. ^ a b Detling, Dave (9 October 2017). "Brian Banks Movie Production Filming In Memphis, Seeks Football "Fans"". localmemphis.com (Channel 24). Nexstar Media Group. Retrieved 6 January 2018.

External links[edit]