Brian Banks was a football star out of Long Beach Poly High School in Long Beach California. He had a big future ahead of him and he knew it. He already had been offered a full-ride scholarship to USC under the coach Pete Carroll. But in 2002, when he was 16, a girl named Wahetta Gibson took him to make out and then accuse him of rape. There was no evidence or witnesses and yet Banks’ was convicted and spent 62 months in prison. When he got out he had to wear a GPS ankle bracelet at all times, register as a convicted sex felon and could not go near schools, parks, or zoos. Gibson got a $750,000 settlement from the school.
But to Banks’ amazement, Gibson sent him a Facebook friend request. He decided to hire a private investigator before they met and they recorded every conversation. A tape from one of those conversations clearly recorded Gibson saying “No, he did not rape me.” He was then proven innocent with the help of the California Innocence Project in San Diego.
What did he want in return? Not any more money. He didn’t hold any grudges. All he wanted was another chance at the NFL. He spent his time training sense October, and he got that chance when he received a call from Seattle Seahawks, Miami Dolphins, Kansas City Chiefs, and Washington Redskins to have a privet workout. The teams don’t guarantee a spot for training camp but he said he doesn’t care, he is just happy he has a chance.
When he walked in to the Seahawk’s indoor training facility, he said it was the second greatest day of his life. This dream that had allowed him to get through the last 5 years was finally coming true as he felt the turf field under his feet. “Just being out here on the field and work out with the Seahawks and to be given an opportunity to have a tryout, I don’t really have words for it. It’s a dream come true. I know a lot of people work hard to get to this point. I’ve worked hard myself and I’m just thankful for this opportunity.”
The now 26 year old Brian Banks impressed the Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll so much that he received an invitation to participate in a formal tryout next week during Seattle’s mandatory offseason minicamp. “This is a great illustration for us why people deserve a second chance,” said Coach Carroll. “Because of what he has overcome and because of what lies ahead for him in his life. This is just one step but it’s a step he’s been dreaming about for a long time. And it’s just such a great illustration about not giving up and competing for what you want and not let your circumstances or surroundings dictate what is going to happen in your life.”
When he was 17 and everyone thought his life was over and would be determined by this horrible event, Brian never gave up on his dream of becoming a NFL player and here he is, fulfilling that dream.