Brian Banks is a retired American football player who served as a linebacker for the duration of his career. He was signed to play in the NFL by the Atlanta Falcons and prior to that, he played for the Las Vegas Locomotives as an undrafted free agent in the United Football League. If there’s more to a man than what he does, then there are a good number of other things that are worth knowing about this Brian, including his fate as a seventeen-year-old who was wrongfully convicted of rape.
Life Before Fame
While he is an outstanding athlete in his own right, Banks is better known for being the victim of an unfair justice system which he was forced to subject himself to after being falsely accused of sexually assaulting a classmate. He was only 17 at the time, and the accusation completely derailed his life as well as the promising football career he had ahead of him.
Following the case brought against him by Wanetta Gibson and her mother, he accepted a plea deal consisting of a six-year jail sentence, five years of parole, and had his name listed on the sexual offenders register. As justice would have it, his wrongful conviction was overturned in 2012 after Wanetta confessed that she had invented all the claims she made against him including the sexual assault and kidnapping.
Brian Banks was born on July 24, 1985, in Long Beach, California and was raised by his mother, Leomia Meyers; his father’s name is Jonathon Banks. As you would easily find, he was a student at Long Beach Polytechnic High School and a fledgling member of the school’s football team. Brian was an exceptionally gifted athlete who was considered one of the most promising junior stars in the nation. However, he was expelled from school following the rape scandal, preventing him from graduating with his peers.
Although his football aspirations were cut short after he was falsely accused and sent to prison, Brian Banks never lost hope that he would one day play professionally again. After his conviction was overturned in 2012, he was invited for tryouts with various NFL teams such as San Francisco 49ers, San Diego Chargers, Kansas City Chiefs, and the Seattle Seahawks where he attended minicamp under the supervision of Pete Carroll, the man who offered him a scholarship back in 2002 when he was serving as the head coach for the University of Southern California.
In September 2012, Banks joined the Las Vegas Locomotives as an undrafted free agent. He played in two games and snatched a tackle before the UFL season went on break in October. He then signed with the NFL team, Atlanta Falcons in April 2013. He took part in offseason games, training camp, and workouts before making his debut NFL appearance in a game against the Cincinnati Bengals during the preseason.
Banks only played four preseason games for the club before the Falcons released him on August 30, 2013. The following year, he was asked to give a speech at the NFL Draft Rookie Symposium and he accepted. His speech earned him resounding applause and showers of praise. In the weeks that followed, Banks was offered a job with the NFL Department of Operations.
False Sexual Assault Allegations
In 2002, Brian Banks’ life changed forever after he was arrested and charged with raping a classmate named Wanetta Gibson. She claimed that he had dragged her into a stairway where he sexually assaulted her. He was looking at up to 41 years imprisonment for the alleged offense so he accepted a plea deal which was supposed to place him on probation without jail time. This turned out to be false as he was still sentenced to six years in prison, five years of probation, and mandatory registration as a sex offender.
The girl and her mother sued the school district for being unsafe and was awarded $1.5 million in compensation.
In March 2011, after he had been released from jail, Wanetta contacted him on Facebook and they agreed to meet. She then confessed to Banks that she had indeed lied against him. He secretly recorded her confession which he then used to clear his name with the help of attorneys working for the California Innocence Project. On May 24, 2012, Banks name was cleared. His conviction was overturned and his name was removed from the sex offenders register, giving him the opportunity to resume his football career.
Is Brian Banks Married?
After he was released from prison and his conviction overturned, Banks met and fell in love with a woman named Emanuela Marinova. The pair tied the knot sometime in May 2015 but filed for divorce in February 2017. Their marriage did not result in the birth of any child.