3rd of April 2013 Author: Johnny Karp
Brian Banks signed on to play with the Atlanta Falcons on Wednesday. This is especially exciting for the former Southern Cal recruit since his hopes for a football career came to a screeching halt when he was convicted of rape and kidnapping approximately 10 years ago.
As a linebacker, Banks will take part in Atlanta's offseason workouts. Banks, 27, was exonerated of the conviction on May 12, 2012 and has been trying to reenter the football arena ever since.
Despite chances with other teams, Atlanta is the first NFL team to take him on. Atlanta general manager Thomas Dimitroff said, "We had a chance to work him out last year and have been monitoring his progress since then," Dimitroff said in a statement released by the team. "He has worked extremely hard for this chance over the last year and he has shown us that he is prepared for this opportunity. We are happy that Brian will have a chance to live out his dream of playing in the NFL and we look forward to seeing him on the field."
At 16 years old, Banks had already received a scholarship offer from USC but that was all taken away by one classmate. Wanetta Gibson accused him of the rape which put Banks in jail for five years.
Gibson took back her story and offered Banks her help. It was this that led to the California Court decision to overturn the conviction and wipe his record clean.
Gibson hasn't given back the money she won in this case nor has the school district made any attempts to obtain it from her.
Banks is now a spokesperson for the California Innocence Project, an organization that helps those falsely accused.
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