After serving more than five years for a crime he did not commit and having his dreams of a professional football career snatched away from him, Brian Banks was exonerated of rape charges. Now, at age 26, Banks has put the past behind him and is setting his sights on the future.
"What's important for me is forward progression," Banks said during an interview on CBS This Morning. "What am I going to do for me? Instead of sitting down and having negative thoughts about anyone or myself. I realized a long time ago that that only stagnates me."
Banks' life came to a screeching halt 10 years ago when the then star high school athlete with strong future prospects was falsely accused of rape by a fellow classmate. Following his lawyer's advice, he pleaded "no contest" and spent five years in jail and four years as a registered sex offender. With the help of a private investigator, Banks was able to tape his accuser admitting she had lied about the incident. Although she never explained her reason for lying, Banks told CBS he thinks it may have been to avoid telling her parents she was sexually active.
Since his exoneration in May, Banks has focused on his future in football and elsewhere.
"Football is still a big passion of mine, and it's still very close," he said. "I've talked to a few NFL teams who are considering bringing me in even before this season ends, so it's still in pursuit."
With no NFL prospects opening up, Banks signed with the Las Vegas Locomotives, a United Football League team. Although, financial pressures caused the team to have to cancel the rest of its season, Banks remains hopeful about his career and says he is happy to move forward with his life.
"To have this finally be over with, to finally have my name cleared and have my life back and also reflect on everything I've been through," he said. "It's been a 10-year struggle, so I'm happy to be free now."