Originally written on Down and Distance  |  Last updated 11/16/14
Stories like this one make me wonder how many people incarcerated are actually innocent when they say they are. When Brian Banks was 16 years old, he was a stand out prospect as a football player in Long Beach, CA. He even had a scholarship to USC in place for when he graduated. That is until he was accused, and ultimately convicted of kidnapping and rape. He went on to serve five years in prison. That is until the woman who accused him, Wanetta Gibson, came clean and admitted Banks neither kidnapped nor raped her. She sent him a Facebook friend request, and investigators claim after looking at text messages Gibson didn’t confess because of guilt; she apparently wants to get back together with him. But that’s neither here nor there. Banks is a free man and has received tryout offers from the Redskins, Chiefs, Dolphins, and Seahawks. Banks, now 24, is getting his shot at redemption: “My mouth hurts from smiling so much. Unbelievable…It’s so crazy to go from being labeled a monster to seeing your phone light up with all this support and offers and love. It’s, really, a little hard to get used to.” Banks is not spiteful. He is not out for retribution or revenge. He just wants to get back to football. He is still in excellent shape and an NFL trainer who is currently working with Banks says he has a legitimate shot at making a team. Most people would be irate after undergoing such an ordeal, but Banks has a different view, as he said: “I know my story makes people angry at first. “That’s where I was, too, at first. But where would it have gotten me to stay mad for 10 years? It’s like when you’re a little kid and you cry about having to clean your room. You can cry and cry, but it doesn’t get your room cleaned.” Brian Banks lost ten years of his life. He now has an amazing chance to turn everything around. It would be fitting if the Dolphins actually signed him, seeing as they are the featured team on the television show “Hard Knocks.” I know I’ll be rooting for Banks, this story is a testament to human strength and ability to overcome the odds and still have your dreams within reach. Keep watching to see how this plot unfolds, I know I will.          
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