Brian Banks (American football)
Banks with the Atlanta Falcons
|Date of birth:||July 24, 1985|
|Place of birth:||Los Angeles County, California, United States|
|Height:||6 ft 3 in (1.91 m)|
|Weight:||250 lb (113 kg)|
|High school:||Long Beach (CA) Poly|
|* Offseason and/or practice squad member only|
|Career NFL statistics|
Brian Banks (born July 24, 1985) is a former NFL (National Football League) Linebacker. Banks was a highly recruited high school athlete before his life was derailed by a wrongful conviction. Banks signed with the Atlanta Falcons on April 3, 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 he had verbally committed to play for USC. After being falsely accused of rape by a classmate, he spent more than five years in prison and 5 years in strict custody parole, but had his conviction overturned in 2012 after his accuser admitted 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.
National Football League (NFL)
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.
False accusation of sexual assault
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. 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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