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Finally exonerated, Brian Banks wants shot at NFL

Brian Banks AP

Convicted of rape and kidnapping in 2003, former California high school football star Brian Banks is now a free man after the victim recanted.  Banks told NBC’s Today on Friday that he wants a shot at pro football.

“I think that any team that gives me an opportunity would be really impressed with what I can do despite all of what I’ve been through these past 10 years,” Banks told Ann Curry of Today.

Banks pleaded no contest as part of a deal that put him in prison for six years; he was facing a maximum sentence of 41 years.  He remained on probation, wearing a monitoring device on his ankle at the Thursday hearing that wiped the convictions off his record.

Banks’ accuser, Wanetta Gibson, had previously expressed to Banks a desire to tell the truth, but she feared having to repay a $1.5 million settlement with the school district they attended.

Now 26, Banks was a linebacker in high school.  He had verbally committed to attend USC.

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67 Responses to “Finally exonerated, Brian Banks wants shot at NFL”
  1. redguy12588 says: May 25, 2012 9:58 PM

    That woman took away his chance at fame and fortune, she ruined his life. Life in prison for her is a fair punishment.

  2. drewbreeswants says: May 25, 2012 9:59 PM

    Drew Brees wants an explanation

  3. whatsupbb415 says: May 25, 2012 9:59 PM

    This is a sad story pisses me off.

  4. xstaticonradio says: May 25, 2012 10:01 PM

    I really hope he gets at least a tryout with a team, he deserves it. This is a horrible story that really points out the flaws of our justice system. I hope his false accuser gets the same 41 year sentence he could have gotten.

  5. rollteal says: May 25, 2012 10:01 PM

    Curious… predicament

  6. fxws says: May 25, 2012 10:04 PM

    That girl should go to prison.

  7. freemantowilliams says: May 25, 2012 10:05 PM

    My bucs should at least give him a shot. Could end up being a great feel good story. Besides, we really need linebackers. Kind of surprised we didn’t sign burfict

  8. panamon says: May 25, 2012 10:09 PM

    I honestly can’t believe there are people out there like that insanely inhumane piece of trash woman. I really hope she is forced to pay his compensation which should be several million (full ride, years of football, personal valuable moments missed, etc. though he unfortunately may not choose to counter-sue) and do AT LEAST as much time as he did for ruining an innocent man’s life and taking over a million from a place that has little to give all based on lies. When I read this story early I was just aghast and it’s just sickening, do some people have no morals whatsoever when it comes to money? Then the quotes and actions just paint the picture of an evil evil woman.

  9. sportsmeccabi says: May 25, 2012 10:10 PM

    She would have let a man spend 41 years in prison over $1.5 million?

    Sounds like the wrong person was in prison if you ask me. I’m glad she came out with the truth though.

  10. deadeyedesign23 says: May 25, 2012 10:10 PM

    Jesus H.

    I hope comet slams into Wanneta Gibson’s home.

  11. Foremastjack says: May 25, 2012 10:10 PM

    Some team should step up and give this guy a look. I think he deserves that at least.

  12. ottawabrave91 says: May 25, 2012 10:11 PM

    Why does he want into the NFL? Rodger Goodell will just punish him for this thing he was just exonerated on. He didnt do anything wrong, with proof he didnt. But Goodell will still punish him just like he has all the other innocent

  13. sd5547 says: May 25, 2012 10:14 PM

    He deserves his chance. Come on San Diego sign him local kid great story.

  14. eeerockski says: May 25, 2012 10:14 PM

    F’n b’s!

  15. tweeter75 says: May 25, 2012 10:26 PM

    I’m not an attorney, but if you were innocent of charges, wouldn’t you plead not guilty instead of no contest?

  16. discosucs2005 says: May 25, 2012 10:27 PM

    I really hope he gets a shot. It’s hard to image that ten years away from the game would be easy to come back from, be he certainly deserves a chance.

  17. Soulman45 says: May 25, 2012 10:30 PM

    Most of his life is gone it well take some time to catch up with the world it have change a bit in the last few years.
    I would like to wish him good luck I hope he have family to help him out to get back on time.

  18. ugly4s says: May 25, 2012 10:35 PM

    This may be the worst thing I’ve ever read. My heart bleeds for this guy. What a shame.

  19. fatfreddystubbs says: May 25, 2012 10:36 PM

    Brian, I hope the NFL thing works out for you. but even if it doesn’t, you’re about to come into some pretty serious money. Spend it wisely and best of luck. Can’t imagine the hell you’ve been through.

  20. jbcommonsense says: May 25, 2012 10:46 PM

    Right after redemption, I hope Mr. Banks can pull off an NFL reserve or practice squad position.

  21. obtb555 says: May 25, 2012 10:50 PM

    I wish Mr. Banks nothing but the best, but this will be the last we hear from him…

  22. xx4zu1 says: May 25, 2012 10:50 PM

    He should be able to sue that woman and get the 1.5million that the dumb@ss school district paid to her as well as the state for wrongful imprisonment, wrongful prosecution and anything else that his attorney can come up with. This should be a lesson to all young men be careful where you stick it.

  23. jtbaudendistel says: May 25, 2012 10:52 PM

    The boy was falsely accused and life was turned upside down. I hope the man can have success in life. Football or not.

  24. profootballwalk says: May 25, 2012 10:52 PM

    This is a very strange story. I think there must be things we still don’t know.

  25. peacensapp says: May 25, 2012 11:01 PM

    How could you live with yourself knowing that an innocent person is rotting in jail because of you?

  26. tonymission says: May 25, 2012 11:02 PM

    Crazy. I wonder how he has dealt with that; I’m not sure I could have.

  27. zoogleea says: May 25, 2012 11:04 PM

    This sickens me. Poor guy – his life is likely ruined.

  28. raidernation4life says: May 25, 2012 11:05 PM

    1st!!!!! That is a tough break for this poor kid. The girl gets 1.5 million and he loses his chance at an NFL career and college degree. How fair is that?!?!

  29. kingcarlbanks says: May 25, 2012 11:08 PM

    Its a damn shame that in this country someone can be convicted of a crime with no physical evidence against them whatsoever. This should be a word of caution to all men out there, be careful what woman you piss off, because the law is on their side.

  30. Deb says: May 25, 2012 11:09 PM

    This kid was a star football player on the way to USC when a false accusation derailed his life. Now instead of focusing on all the negatives, he’s spending his energy training. If he doesn’t get an immediate tryout with the NFL, I hope he gets a shot to play a couple of years in the NCAA and then move up. At 28, Oklahoma State QB Brandon Weeden has shown it is possible for older players to make it into the league.

  31. mullman7675 says: May 25, 2012 11:10 PM

    So, is Wanetta Gibson facing any charges? She recanted and it’s supposed to be all good?

    Banks lost six years of his life and the shot at a college and/or pro career.

    All 32 teams should bring him in on a try-out basis on principle alone. Maybe the CFL could come calling.

  32. kspells12345 says: May 25, 2012 11:15 PM

    I hope at the very least, USC would at least honor his scholarship…that would be a classy move.

    I hope Wanetta Gibson lives a life racked with guilt and shame. To have the gall to “friend” someone on Facebook that you wrongly imprisoned and ruined their life….”to let bygones be bygones”…this kid likely missed on a chance to make millions.

    Although I commend him for seemingly not holding a grudge toward her…I would sue her for everything..missed future earnings, everything. I would go to my lawyers and tell them in the words of Maximus from Gladiator to “UNLEASH HELL!”

    And she should be forced to recompensate the Long Beach school district for the $1.5 million she wrongfully and fraudulently received in a settlement. That $1.5 million could have gone to education.

  33. Deb says: May 25, 2012 11:19 PM

    tweeter75 says:

    I’m not an attorney, but if you were innocent of charges, wouldn’t you plead not guilty instead of no contest?
    ————————————————–
    It was a she said/he said situation and his lawyer advised him to take the deal–plead “no contest” and spend six years in prison followed by probation–rather than risk conviction and a 41-year sentence.

  34. pftcensorssuck says: May 25, 2012 11:31 PM

    So he deserves a shot at the NFL because he was falsely imprisoned???

    Where was it written that this guy would have had a shot at the NFL just because he played ball in high school?

    By the way, tweeter75 nailed it; I’d have a little more sympathy for a guy who didn’t plead “no contest”.

  35. westcoastraider says: May 25, 2012 11:48 PM

    Wow, gotta love that justice system..

  36. mediasloppy says: May 25, 2012 11:52 PM

    Too bad this happens all the time. Good luck to him and I hope some team gives him a chance.

  37. chazzmichaelmichaels says: May 25, 2012 11:53 PM

    NFL? Why can’t he do a year at USC first?

  38. terumiarai says: May 25, 2012 11:54 PM

    Then there’s the settlement of $1.5M she took. She should be convicted of fraud and sentenced to 41 years.

  39. randallflagg52 says: May 26, 2012 12:09 AM

    My heart goes out to this guy. Words can’t even describe how I feel for this man and about that woman, who I hope has to deal with some misfortune greater than Mr. Banks had to deal with. Nothing would be too much for her IMO. The fact that a person would lie and keep an innocent man in jail and ruin his life for a mere 1.5 mil sickens me, how can you live with yourself?

  40. KIR says: May 26, 2012 12:28 AM

    discosucs2005

    I really hope he gets a shot. It’s hard to image that ten years away from the game would be easy to come back from, be he certainly deserves a chance
    _____________________________

    Maybe………?But if you’re a poor black 18 year old male with the option of 6 or 41 years and being represented by a probably incompetent attorney what would you really do?

  41. greekgodfather says: May 26, 2012 12:29 AM

    I’m sure Ms Gibson is a devoted Christian who sings on the choir on Sundays, studies the Bible on Wednesday nights and keep all the ten commandments faithfully. And she plans to start a foundation for rape victims with that 1.5 million.

    Oh…and she plans to repent for any sins she may have committed so she will be fully forgiven and everything will be back to normal.

    So there.

  42. daaabears says: May 26, 2012 12:50 AM

    This man wants to be in the NFL. If he can’t make the roster, some team please give him some kind of job. God Bless, man, I wish you the very best.

  43. tfbuckfutter says: May 26, 2012 12:57 AM

    tweeter75 says: May 25, 2012 10:26 PM

    I’m not an attorney, but if you were innocent of charges, wouldn’t you plead not guilty instead of no contest?

    —————————————

    “No contest” means you aren’t admitting guilt, but are submitting to the fact that there is enough evidence to convict you of the crime and you don’t have sufficient evidence to show you DIDN’T do it.

  44. ajpurp says: May 26, 2012 1:04 AM

    This actually happens all the time, innocent people taking pleas because, as a lawyer, you see the odds stacked against you, especially in sexual assault cases, and you do a cost benefit. It’s sad but true. The justice system makes it really difficult to disprove these types of claims, especially with admissions of evidence, it’s much more lax w/sex crimes. Another side thats said is people guilty as all H getting the same deals. Every day, outside federal court, who without cooperation needs/options they sentence you to insanely long periods of time no matter. Justice system is messed up, and it’s mostly the governments fault, having philosophers and idealists making these laws instead of lawyers who have practice for 25 years…it would look a lot different. It’s despicable.

  45. hulkhogansays says: May 26, 2012 1:06 AM

    If that scumball Burfict can get a look why not this guy brother.

  46. greenngld says: May 26, 2012 1:19 AM

    So he deserves a shot at the NFL because he was falsely imprisoned???

    Where was it written that this guy would have had a shot at the NFL just because he played ball in high school?

    By the way, tweeter75 nailed it; I’d have a little more sympathy for a guy who didn’t plead “no contest”.
    ——————

    Um, yeah he deserves a shot.

    You will never know what his college career would have been, but the point is he never had the opportunity because he was in prision for a crime he didn’t commit. His shot was taken away from him.

    Your comment on “no contest” just shows you talk without knowing anything. His lawyer suggested he should plead no contest and serve the 6 years, instead of trying to beat a 41 year sentance. Right or wrong, sometimes innocent people take deals because is it the better option. You never know how a he said/she said case will go.

    The guy serves 6 years wrongly, and you have a problem with him getting a tryout with a team?

    Wow.

  47. rickyspanish says: May 26, 2012 1:24 AM

    Deb

    Way to break it down. Your legal knowledge is always nice.

  48. thraiderskin says: May 26, 2012 1:38 AM

    I think he should work out (via generous offer) at USC’s pro day next year and take the year to regain his LB footing.

  49. lucky5934 says: May 26, 2012 1:46 AM

    Just goes to show us that the court of public opinion can be brutal from time to time. This guy was crucified in the media back when this happened. I am glad this girl FINALLY established a conscious nine years later so he doesn’t have to spend any further time in prison. She didn’t have to come clean, but she did and that is not an easy thing to do this far down the road. Sadly though, spending all of that time away from the gridiron will really hurt his chances of ever making a football roster. He will be so far behind the learning curve in terms of understanding complex schemes and intense agility and fitness workout programs. However, I for one will be rooting for him.

  50. jcg23 says: May 26, 2012 5:49 AM

    It’s the way the court system is set up and has been all my life for sure. If you are accused of rape, murder, or abuse by a woman. You are going to jail. If you go to get a divorce from a woman, you pay out your ass. Child support guaranteed if she had a kid with you. Oh you want your kid? Sorry, don’t work that way the majority of the time.

    I’m amazed the guy is this good about it. I’d want her head.

  51. vikingamericann says: May 26, 2012 7:03 AM

    This is exactly why Players falsely accused of participating in the bounty deserve to see the evidence against them. False accusations happen, mistakes are made, and innocents get consequence that can’t be undo. I’ve read too many post about the players should just accept their punishment etc etc ect. Well here is someone who did accept the punishment for something he did not do. Now many of you want to put him in the NFL as a feel good story. The dude needs to enroll in college, try and walk on the team, then earn getting drafted. He will be about the same ages as Brandon Weedon Cleveland 1st round pick when he is draft eligible.

  52. macadamia2010 says: May 26, 2012 7:36 AM

    @pftcensorssuck, you’re an IDIOT!

  53. billsfan1 says: May 26, 2012 8:06 AM

    How could you live with yourself knowing that an innocent person is rotting in jail because of you?

    in her mind, she had 1.5 millions reason…
    as far was why he pleaded no contest… he was a young black male. that is not a racist comment but the truth. Perhaps his lawyer should have tried harder although maybe he knew there wasnt much to prove he didnt do it..

    This woman should be charge with what ever she can be charged with whatever she can be charged with: fraud, falsifying a police report. anything they can get their hands on

  54. lucky5934 says: May 26, 2012 8:25 AM

    pftcensorssuck says:
    May 25, 2012 11:31 PM
    So he deserves a shot at the NFL because he was falsely imprisoned???

    Where was it written that this guy would have had a shot at the NFL just because he played ball in high school?

    ——————————————–
    He was a highly touted recruit heading to USC during their prime. He would have had a loaded roster around him that would have helped him standout and potentially make it to the NFL. Now I can’t prove to you that would happen, but you can’t prove to me that it wouldn’t. Point is this… his potential as a football player were off the charts. Being falsely imprisoned not only ripped that away from the young man, but destroyed his life in the process. Gone are all of the friends and supporters he had growing up as a result. So excuse me, and any other sane adult, who firmly believes this young man deserves at least a shot of proving that he can overcome the seemingly impossible odds of making a NFL roster. Your mother must be so proud of how cold and heartless your comments are.

  55. irishdawg42 says: May 26, 2012 8:44 AM

    For all of you saying he needs to take a year to a) acclimate to society or b) get back his football legs…

    He has been out of prison for at least 2 years. He served a 6 year sentence starting in 2003. He has been on a monitor, but he has had plenty of time to get back into the world and train for this opportunity. The crime was the only thing hanging over his head and that has now been removed as well.

    All he is asking for is a tryout, not a contract. I would think multiple teams could take 24 hours out of their schedule to have the guy in for interviews and tryouts the week before their next OTA’s/mini camp.

    Would love for my Browns to give him a shot!

  56. olcap says: May 26, 2012 8:45 AM

    Dude deserves a shot.

  57. 49erstim says: May 26, 2012 8:47 AM

    @vikingamericann…. Did you just liken being convicted of rape and spending YEARS in jail to the bounty scandal? Goodness gracious my friend. Please tell me you’re trolling again.

  58. souldogdave says: May 26, 2012 8:54 AM

    Obviously, her bearing false witness against this athlete, and getting PAID $1.5 million ,is a criminal act besides breaking one of the 10 commandments.She should be charged,tried and convicted and incarcerated. Not to mention forfeiting the money, and paying it back. If it was me, I’d probably make sure she comes to a bad end.Which she truly deserves.By that I mean legal action, lawsuits, publicity, put her lying face on billboards in her hometown, etc.

  59. jluns275 says: May 26, 2012 9:08 AM

    Had that poor guy not been exhonorated, he would have been a naturaly fit for the Steelers or Bengals.
    But on a more serious note, good for him.
    This kind of thing happens alot more often than what is talked about in the mainstream media.
    I’ve seen this personally. It’s a terrible thing.
    Good luck & Godspeed to him.

  60. murraysons says: May 26, 2012 9:10 AM

    It would be a great story and I really feel for the guy, but cmon folks. No college football, 7 years away from the game, and he’s gonna make a roster? No way

  61. eeerockski says: May 26, 2012 9:42 AM

    I wonder how much of that money she has left now. Gonna go out on a limb and say its not much. Probably got the fake boobs and all that now too.

  62. mike5832 says: May 26, 2012 11:34 AM

    He’s 26 years old with plenty of time to get his life in order. Its a travesty this happened to him and she should be punished no doubt. Hopefully he will get a break and something good will happen to change his life in a positive way. Best of luck to him.

  63. CKL says: May 26, 2012 1:07 PM

    “Banks’ accuser, Wanetta Gibson, had previously expressed to Banks a desire to tell the truth, but she feared having to repay a $1.5 million settlement with the school district they attended.”
    ___________________________________
    Translation: “Dude? I really want to say you’re innocent and stuff…but like..your life and innocence being destroyed by my lies aren’t as important to me as a huge chunk of money I DID NOT EARN that the payee of also had to suffer damages to their objectives in paying me.”

    Wow, just…wow. The self centered, immature and evil nature of this just blows me away.

  64. aglumac says: May 26, 2012 6:44 PM

    jluns275 says:May 26, 2012 9:08 AM

    Had that poor guy not been exhonorated, he would have been a naturaly fit for the Steelers or Bengals.
    But on a more serious note, good for him.
    This kind of thing happens alot more often than what is talked about in the mainstream media.
    I’ve seen this personally. It’s a terrible thing.
    Good luck & Godspeed to him.

    What Steeler player has gone to jail? The Bengals I understand, the Ravens have Ray Lewis, who was implicated in murder, St Louis drafted Jenkins who had legal trouble, in fact what team do you root for, Im sure I can find atleast one player who has had legal issues, Ben was never convicted of anything, and if this young man was convicted on a lie, what does that say, Bens accusers lie wasnt even good enough? Get real.

  65. skolvikesskol says: May 27, 2012 2:33 AM

    He wld b better off getting a degree and
    Finding away to use his adversity to become a champion in a different walk of life

  66. chazatlas says: May 28, 2012 11:14 AM

    Wrongful convictions happen more often to brothas than you think.

  67. mikeinsanfran says: May 30, 2012 5:03 PM

    I hate to ruin a good story, but this guy has actually been out of Jail since 2007. I guess NFL teams would not touch him until he was fully exonerated of the charges which just happened. Either way, he NEVER should have gone to jail in the first place. Sad his attorney, likely state appointed, talked him into pleading no contest even thought he insisted he was innocent.

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