Brian Banks: The Story Of An Innocent Convicted

Brian Banks  is a former football player who was charged in 2002 with rape. This event marked the end of his sports career, and he has been trying to clear his name ever since. In 2012 he finally managed to prove his innocence, but he has never managed to return to the world of professional sports.

The case has become especially famous because of the work of Banks and his attorney to raise awareness of the false allegations of abuse. Since 2012, in addition to trying unsuccessfully to return to the world of football, this athlete has done a great job of disseminating what happened to him.

By Thomson200 [CC0], from Wikimedia Commons

In 2017, a film began to be shot on the Banks case, in which his story will be told and an attempt will be made to clear his name. Because of what happened to this soccer player, many people have wondered whether any penalty should be imposed for women who make false accusations of rape.

Article index

  • one

    History and facts

  • two

    Further investigations

  • 3

    What happened after the young woman’s confession?

  • 4


History and facts

In 2002, young Brian seemed on the verge of achieving his dream. About to leave high school, he had been contacted by a professional soccer team to join the university. This would be your first step into the NFL (America’s national soccer league).

However, her aspirations were suddenly frustrated after an incident with one of her high school classmates. The young woman, Wanetta Gibson, accused Banks of rape and attempted kidnapping after a meeting on campus in which (as it would later be discovered) the two only kissed.

The reasons that led the young woman to make this false accusation are not very clear. Banks thinks it could have to do with social pressure to safeguard their reputation, since several university workers saw them kissing.

However, no matter what the motives were, the soccer player was suddenly charged with a crime that he had not committed. In the trial for the case, he had to make a very complicated decision: risk being sentenced to 41 years in prison, or accept a deal for which he would suffer a lesser sentence but without going to trial.

Frightened by the possible consequences, the young man chose the second option. Thus, he agreed to spend 5 years in prison, in addition to suffering another 5 years of probation and registration as a sex offender. Of course, Banks knew this would end his soccer career, but at the time he saw it as the lesser of two evils.

Wanetta Gibson, Banks’ partner who accused him of rape, took advantage of the situation to denounce the university for being “an unsafe environment.” Due to his victory in the trial, the study center had to pay him 1.5 million dollars.

Further investigations

Amazingly, the story took a 180 degree turn almost a decade later. In 2011, nine years after what happened, Gibson contacted Banks on Facebook and asked to speak to him privately. This he did by ignoring all the advice of his legal advisers, but eventually the two met.

To help him get the most out of the conversation, Banks brought in a private investigator who recorded everything that happened. During the interaction between the two, Wanetta confessed that he had made it all up, although he did not give a clear explanation as to why he did it. However, he did say that he did not want to have to pay the money back.

Still, the California court reopened the case due to this new evidence of what happened. The only evidence that had been used to convict Banks was the girl’s testimony; therefore, as soon as she confessed that rape had never occurred, it was declared that the footballer had been unjustly imprisoned.

Thus, on May 24, 2012, Judge Mark C. Kim finally put an end to Banks’ nightmare by announcing that he was considered innocent of all his charges. Despite everything, his life had already been damaged forever, but the man soon tried to remake it in the best possible way.

What happened after the young woman’s confession?

That same year, Banks received offers from six NFL teams to try soccer with them. However, during 2012 he ended up not signing with any of them. During 2013, on the other hand, he played several games with the Atlanta Falcons, until the end of the season.

After that year, Banks began working in the NFL but in a different position than originally expected. The now 27-year-old became part of the organization’s Operations Department, taking care of the league’s social media and other related tasks.

However, shortly after Brian Banks left this position to begin speaking in public about what had happened to him. Its aim is to educate the public about the false accusations of rape and what they can mean for the men who suffer them.

In 2017, a film was started on the Banks story. It is slated for release in late 2018 and will be directed by Tom Shadyac, with Greg Kinnear as Brooks, and Aldis Hodge playing Brian himself.

As for the girl, after her confession the university decided to press charges against her for defamation and false accusations. The court found that she had been guilty and sentenced her to pay 2.6 million dollars, however Brooks is still fighting to avoid this sentence.

This story shows us the dire consequences that false accusations can have for the lives of the people who suffer them. This subject, on which there is little visibility, is beginning to become known to the general public due to stories like Brooks’s own.

False accusations of abuse are especially controversial in recent times, so it is to be expected that in coming years we will find more cases like that of this young footballer.


  1. “Brian Banks” in: California Innocence Project. Retrieved on: July 28, 2018 from California Innocence Project:
  2. “Brian Banks: An innocent wrongly convicted” in: Culturízate. Retrieved on: July 28, 2018 from Culturízate:
  3. “Was Football Star Brian Banks Wrongfully Convicted of Rape?” in: Snopes. Retrieved on: July 28, 2018 from Snopes:
  4. “Brian Banks: Exonerated football star” in: CBS News. Retrieved on: July 28, 2018 from CBS News:
  5. “Civil Justice: Former NFL Player Brian Banks Believes Judges Shouldn’t Be Awarded For Conviction Rates” in: Essence. Retrieved on: July 28, 2018 from Essence:

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