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Brian Banks (American football)

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]

Brian Banks
refer to caption
Banks with the Atlanta Falcons.
No. 53
Position: Linebacker
Personal information
Born: (1985-07-24) July 24, 1985 (age 32)
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 (CA) Poly
College: None
Undrafted: 2007
Career history
 * Offseason and/or practice squad member only
Career NFL statistics
Player stats at

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 a classmate, 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 careerEdit

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's "Juniors to Watch" of the class of 2003,[7] before being expelled from school due to the false rape accusations.

Professional careerEdit

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 LocomotivesEdit

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 FalconsEdit

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 games with the Falcons before being released on August 30, 2013.[14]

National Football League (NFL)Edit

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 assaultEdit

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] According to Banks, his lawyer told him that he stood no chance at trial because he would be tried by an all-white jury who would automatically assume that he was guilty because he was "a big, black teenager."[19]

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.[18]

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.[20] 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.[21]

Banks now serves as a spokesperson for the California Innocence Project and is working on a documentary about his story.[11]

See alsoEdit


  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". Retrieved 3 April 2013. 
  3. ^ "Brian Banks released by Atlanta Falcons". 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". Retrieved August 9, 2013. 
  8. ^ "Pete Carroll excited to give Brian Banks a chance | ProFootballTalk". Retrieved 2013-04-03. 
  9. ^ Farnsworth, Clare. " Blog | Brian Banks gets another shot at NFL". Retrieved 2013-04-03. 
  10. ^ Shoichet, Catherine (4 April 2013). "Exonerated Brian Banks signs with Atlanta Falcons". Turner Broadcasting System. Retrieved 4 April 2013. 
  11. ^ a b "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 "A 10-year nightmare over rape conviction is over". Los Angeles Times. 2012-05-25. Retrieved 2013-04-03. 
  19. ^ 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. 
  20. ^ Lowrey, Brandon (April 12, 2013). "Long Beach School District Sues Brian Banks' Accuser for $2M". NBC Los Angeles. Retrieved August 9, 2013. 
  21. ^ 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. 

External linksEdit