Brian Banks, the promising football prospect who lost his scholarship at USC and lost five years of his life when a classmate falsely accused him of rape, says he’s moving on with his life and still hoping to make a run at an NFL career.
The subject of a 60 Minutes profile that will air on Sunday, Banks says he has forgiven his accuser and isn’t looking for her to be punished in any way. Asked if he wants to see charges brought against his accuser, Wanetta Gibson, Banks answered, “No, None whatsoever. My main focus has just been on me.”
Banks may not want to see Gibson punished, but that doesn’t mean she shouldn’t be. In addition to the harm she brought to Banks, false claims like hers can contribute to an environment in which people who really are raped fear coming forward because they’re worried that they’ll be accused of lying. Gibson also got $750,000 from the taxpayers of Long Beach, California, where the school district settled a lawsuit she brought, in which she alleged that the school was culpable for failing to protect her from Banks.
However, the Los Angeles Times reported that prosecutors believe a case against Gibson would be hard to prosecute, and that Gibson has already run out of the settlement money and is now poor enough that her children are on public assistance, which means the school district and its insurance company wouldn’t be able to get the money back even if they tried.
For his part, Banks says he has been in contact with NFL teams and is still hoping to land on someone’s offseason roster. Although Banks got a tryout with the Seahawks last year, that kind of comeback has to be viewed as a long shot.
But no matter where his NFL dreams end up, Banks is an easy player to root for.