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Man whose rape conviction was overturned invited to NFL tryouts

Brian Banks

This post has been updated. Please see note below.

Brian Banks, the former Long Beach high school football star whose rape conviction was dismissed last week, has scheduled a tryout with the Seattle Seahawks, Washington Redskins and Kansas City Chiefs, Banks' legal team said Wednesday.

[Updated at 12:50 p.m. May 30: An earlier version of this post said Banks was slated to tryout with the Seahawks. The Redskins and Chiefs have also given Banks a chance to try out.]

Banks' tryout with the Seahawks is slated for June 7 in Seattle, said Ian Wright, a spokesman for California Western School of Law, whose California Innocence Project handled Banks' case. Wright said the San Diego Chargers, Atlanta Falcons and Miami Dolphins have also been in contact with Banks.

Banks, 26, has been training intensely since October in hopes of landing an NFL tryout, his legal team said.

"This is what I have dreamed about my entire life," Banks said in a prepared statement. "I am ready to show the NFL what I am capable of doing. I want as many opportunities with as many NFL teams who are willing to give me a shot."  

In 2002, a female classmate at Long Beach Poly High accused Banks of rape. He maintained that they fooled around, but that the sexual contact was consensual.

Facing a potential sentence of 41 years to life in prison, Banks took his lawyer's advice and pleaded no contest to one count of forcible rape. He spent more than five years in prison. Meanwhile his accuser, Wanetta Gibson, and her family sued Long Beach schools and received a sizable settlement.

Last year, court papers said, Gibson contacted him via Facebook and agreed to meet with him and a private investigator. In a recorded conversation, she said Banks had not raped her, according to court documents. That set off a chain of events that resulted in a judge throwing out Banks' conviction last week.

"When we took on Brian's case, we wanted to give him his life back," Innocence Project attorney Justin Brooks said in a news release. "Part of that life was football. Seeing Brian in the NFL would be a perfect ending to a remarkable story."


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--Ashley Powers

Photo: Former Long Beach high school football star Brian Banks hugs his mother Leomia Myers outside the Long Beach courthouse after his rape conviction was overturned. Credit: Bob Chamberlin / Los Angeles Times

 
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