In 2002, a 16 year old football star at powerhouse Long Beach Poly was accused of raping a classmate. At the age of 16, this boy was tried as an adult, and at the advice of his lawyer, pleaded no contest to avoid life behind bars. This boy grew into manhood behind bars, 5 years and 2 months later he was released on parole, trying to start his life, but registered as a sex offender and donned a tracking ankle monitor. Then, earlier this year, his accuser came forward and admitted to fabricating the accusation of rape, and the judge threw out all charges and convictions, officially giving 26 year old Brain Banks his freedom.
This offseason, Banks was worked out by the Seattle Seahawks, Oakland Raiders, Miami Dolphins, and Washington Redskins, however he was signed by none of them. Banks was not able to finish his high school career, play in college, despite being recruited by many of the top programs in the country, or realize his NFL dream. However, today it has been announced he has been signed by the UFL squad Las Vegas Locomotives. He will play linebacker for the Locomotives, and will play in his first competitive football game in 10 years.
Plaxico Burress shot himself in the leg, spent time in prison, and came back to the NFL. Michael Vick ran a dog fighting ring, spent time in prison, and is a starting NFL quarterback again. Every day players are arrested for DUI or marijuana possession, and are allowed to return to the game they play for a living. Too often players are starting fights at strip clubs, being found with loads of unregistered weapons, or letting members of their entourage take the fall for murder (Jayson Williams and Ray Lewis). And all these people are allowed back to their sport. Even Josh Lueke has been welcomed back to baseball after blatantly lying to police and eventually pleading to a lesser charge after anal raping a women he met at a bar.
Brian Banks deserves this opportunity more than most. He deserves to accomplish his dream. He deserves to start for Las Vegas, he deserves to perform well, and he deserves to be given a shot on an NFL roster. A kid had his life ripped from him at the hands of lies. I came across this story too late to donate to his kickstarter account where he raised money to film a documentary to tell his story. I, for one, will be a person that finds his documentary when it comes out (a current ETA of March 2013), but in the meantime, I will be following his career and rooting for him. You can follow his progress and the progress of his documentary at his website, www.brianbanks.org.