CBS News reports that 27-year-old Brian Banks, who was accused of rape when he was only 16 and spent five years behind bars after he was convicted – losing a scholarship offer to the University of Southern California in the process – is now signed to play pro football with the Atlanta Falcons.
This happy ending, so to speak, although Banks would probably say this is just the beginning, comes after Banks traveled the long road to exoneration. Banks’s accuser recanted her story, according to CBS, and wanted to help clear his name. Ultimately, that’s just what happened, when the court overturned his rape conviction last year.
CBS News quotes Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff:
“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.”
There are a number of positive things about this case, in addition to the exoneration. Not many organizations are willing to take a chance on someone who was charged and convicted of a serious sex crime. The exoneration obviously increased Banks’s chances to play pro football, but it’s clear that Banks isn’t one to back down from a challenge.
In fact, the rape charge spurred Banks to take part in his state’s Innocence Project, an organization that works to exonerate the wrongfully convicted.