News 04.04.13

First Exoneree to Play Professional Football Inks a Deal With Atlanta Falcons

Nearly one year after kidnapping and rape charges against a former Southern California high school football player were dismissed, Brian Banks’ dreams to play professional football were fulfilled Wednesday when he inked a deal with the Atlanta Falcons.


The alleged victim claimed that she had been forced to the school’s basement and raped without a condom, but DNA testing did not find sperm on her underwear. Banks was exonerated after the alleged victim was video recorded denying that any crime had taken place.


As a collegiate prospect with a verbal commitment to play at the University of Southern California, Banks was forced to set aside his dreams in 2002 when he took a plea deal to avoid trial and the risk of a lengthy prison sentence. After a five-year stint in prison he was forced to register as a sex offender and wear an electronic monitoring bracelet.


Following his exoneration last May, Banks, who was represented by the

California Innocence Project

, received calls from several professional football teams and was invited for workouts and tryouts.


Watch Banks and California Innocence Project Director Justin Brooks

talk more about Banks’ story and what it means to go pro

on MSNBC’s Politics Now.

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