The touchdown catch that wasn’t. The first touchdown interception. The inaccurate reception. Whatever you call it, don’t call the controversial call by replacement refs in the Green Bay Packers-Seattle Seahwaks game a catalyst for the tentative labor deal with National Football League referees, Commissioner Roger Goodell said Thursday.

“It may have pushed the parties farther along, but we were really in intensive negotiations for the last two weeks,” Goodell told reporters in a conference call Thursday to discuss the agreement, reached late Wednesday.

Goodell also said he was sorry the league felt it had to resort to the replacements, few of whom had any previous NFL officiating experience. Many were high school or low-level college officials who hold down myriad of other jobs, from schoolteachers to attorneys.

“We worked as hard as we could and we did the best we could,” Henry Zaborniak, a fill-in line judge who lives in Ohio, told CNN. “None of us felt like we could replace the regular guys. You can’t replace that sort of ability en masse.”

Zaborniak, who spent 15 years as a Big Ten official, said he and his colleagues never imagined working this long. He thought they’d work one game and go home. While the officials were excoriated in the media, Zaborniak said the players were very professional.

“I can’t think of one unkind thing I could say about them,” he said. “They were tremendous.”

Goodell declined to criticize the replacements despite weeks of botched calls that raised the ire of fans nationwide.

Everything they did, every call, was magnified,” Goodell said. “They kept the game going. They worked hard. They trained hard. They were incredibly focused and dedicated.”

The eight-year deal — the longest ever for officials, according to the NFL — gives the union referees a pay raise and keeps their pension program in place for five years.

It suspends a lockout that began before the league’s preseason, leading to a series of gaffes that climaxed in a furor over a botched call that allowed the Seahawks to walk away with a victory in Monday night’s nationally televised game. The league acknowledged Tuesday that the Packers should have won, but allowed the result of the game to stand.

Fans and players rejoiced in the news that regular referees would return, beginning with Thursday night’s game between the Cleveland Browns and the Baltimore Ravens.

“Never thought I would be excited for the refs to come back to work but it’s about time,” Cleveland Browns receiver Josh Cribbs tweeted Thursday. “It was definitely necessary!”

Photos: Blown calls

In place of the replacement referees, most of whom had officiated no more than a handful of pro games, the league put together a veteran crew with a combined 70 seasons of NFL experience to handle Thursday night’s game.

Goodell said it was challenging to figure out how to get regular referees back on the field less than 24 hours after striking the tentative deal, but not for lack of enthusiasm among the officials to get back to work.

“They wanted to do what they love doing and make a contribution to the game, and that’s a tribute to them,” Goodell said.

While they have not called a game since last season, the league’s veteran crews will be ready to go, said retired official Mason “Red” Cashion.

“These guys have been working every week, really since May, to get ready for the season, through conference calls, through video, through meetings of their own,” Cashion said. “And that’s something that the officials have done simply because they have enough pride in what they do that they wanted to be ready. And they are ready.”

The eight-year deal, which must be ratified by union members, includes details about officials’ pensions and retirement benefits, and adds a pay bump from $149,000 a year in 2011 to $173,000 in 2013. The pay will rise to $205,000 by 2019.

The agreement will also allow the NFL to hire some officials on a year-round basis and hire additional referees so they can be trained.

“This agreement supports long-term reforms that will make officiating better. The teams, players and fans want and deserve both consistency and quality in officiating,” Goodell said.

What the refs were negotiating

The return of the league’s regular referees won’t put an end to controversial calls, said retired NFL player Tiki Barber. But it will raise the respect level between coaches and players and officials, Barber said.

“There’s still going to be arguing with referees,” he said. “They’re still going to make bad calls. But now we’re going to know that it’s coming from a base of knowledge. These guys know what they’re talking about and they’re going to have an argument for why they do what they do on the field.”

Fired up over NFL referees? Share your thoughts.

The deal came almost exactly 48 hours after the controversial ending of the Monday night game, which the Seahawks won 14-12 after replacement officials gave possession of a disputed ball, and a touchdown, to Seattle receiver Golden Tate.

In what became a widely mocked symbol of the quality of officiating by the replacements, a photo from that game shows two officials in the end zone displaying competing signals: one indicating a touchdown, the other an interception.

The result generated intense and immediate criticism of the league — even President Barack Obama weighed in Tuesday urging a quick resolution. On Thursday, White House spokesman Jay Carney said Obama was “very pleased” with the resolution.

Goodell said he was not surprised by the outcry.

“I’ve come to learn in the NFL, particularly with the popularity of the game and the influence it has in today’s society, not much surprises me about what happens in the NFL,” he said.

Despite prodding by reporters, he declined to closely dissect the play that ended Monday night’s game beyond the statement the NFL issued Tuesday. In that statement, the NFL said the replacement refs should have called an offensive pass interference penalty on Seattle that would have ended the game, but supported the referees’ decision not to overturn the ruling on the catch.

Goodell also declined to grade the replacements, saying that wasn’t part of his duties. But he warned fans that mistakes will still happen, even with the return of the veterans.

“It’s not realistic to think that officiating will be perfect,” he said.

Much as it was after the Monday game, Twitter was buzzing with discussion of the deal. For a while, in the early morning, the name of one of the NFL’s more iconic officials, the heavily muscled Ed Hochuli, was one of the most-discussed topics among Twitter users in the United States.

“I’ve never been more excited to see another man’s biceps than this Sunday to see Ed Hochuli back officiating,” a Twitter user named Robby Donoho wrote. “It’s. About. Time.”


Tonite, Russel Wilson became the first quaterback to throw a game winning interception!! This has to be the craziest thing I have ever seen. Not just in football, but in any sport. The replacement refs clearly robbed the Green Bay Packers of a win in this Monday night NFL game.

The owners and the NFL as a whole are allowing greed and egos to ruin the game of professional football. They say that they will do anything to uphold the integrity of the game, but this is not how you do it. These replacement refs are not able to effectively officiate these games. It really is not their fault. The game is too fast and they just cannot keep up. You can’t hire a boy to do a man’s job.

It is so wrong on so many levels. First of all, imagine being a grown man, brought in to do a job and having your work criticized by every fan of the NFL. You are doing the best you can, but you quickly realize that you are in way over your head. You probably want to quit, but the bosses (in this cae, the NFL) continue to pay you. Then you have the owners who refuse to make any changes because the fans are continuing to buy tickets and watch the games on TV. The NFL continues to get high ratings, so the NFL will not bring the real refs back.

The truth of the matter is that you cannot take expensive Itallian shoes and step SHIT!!! They are killing the brand!!! They are killing the GAME!!!

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LaDainian Tomlinson was in the midst of saying goodbye to the NFL when his young son, Daylen, wandered across the dais and tugged on his pant leg, wanting a little attention.

Tomlinson reached down and lifted him up, holding him as carefully as he used to carry the football.

Joined by his family and several former teammates, Tomlinson ended his brilliant 11-year NFL career the same way he started it — with the San Diego Chargers.

Tomlinson signed a one-day contract with the Chargers on Monday and then announced his retirement.

‘‘It wasn’t because I didn’t want to play anymore. It was simply time to move on,’’ Tomlinson said.

Tomlinson rushed for 13,684 yards, fifth all-time, and scored 162 touchdowns, third-most ever. His 145 rushing touchdowns are second-most in history. He also passed for seven touchdowns.

Just as importantly, he helped the Chargers dig out from one of their worst stretches to become a force in the AFC West. He played his first nine seasons with San Diego and the last two years with the New York Jets.

Tomlinson, who turns 33 on Saturday, said he knew at the end of last season that he’d probably retire. He said he was still physically capable of playing but mentioned the mental toll it takes to play at a high level.

Tomlinson didn’t shed any tears, as he did two years ago after being released by the Chargers.

L.T. recalled the news conference in 2006 when former teammate Junior Seau announced his first retirement.

‘‘He said, ‘I’m graduating today.’ I’ve been playing football 20-some years and so at some point it almost seems like school every year where you sacrifice so much and there is so much you put on the line, mentally and physically, with your body, everything,’’ Tomlinson said. ‘‘So today, I take the words of Junior Seau: I feel like I’m graduating. I really do, because I’ve got my life ahead of me, I’m healthy, I’m happy with a great family and I’m excited to now be a fan and watch you guys play.’’

Seau, who committed suicide on May 2, came out of retirement a few times to play for the New England Patriots.

Tomlinson said this is it for him.

Tomlinson said he has special memories even though the Chargers never got to the Super Bowl during his time with them.

His most memorable moment with San Diego came on Dec. 10, 2006, when he swept into the end zone late in a game against the Denver Broncos for his third touchdown of the afternoon to break Shaun Alexander’s year-old record of 28 touchdowns.

His linemen hoisted him onto their shoulders and carried him toward the sideline, with Tomlinson holding the ball high in his right hand and waving his left index finger, while the fans chanted ‘‘L.T.! L.T.!’’ and ‘‘MVP! MVP!’’

Tomlinson was voted NFL MVP that season, when he set league single-season records with 31 touchdowns, including 28 rushing, and 186 points.

‘‘Those were championship days, for not only myself and my teammates, but my family as well,’’ said Tomlinson, who won two NFL rushing titles. ‘‘So I’m OK with never winning a Super Bowl championship. I know we’ve got many memories that we can call championship days.’’

Tomlinson was joined on the dais by wife LaTorsha, mother Loreane, son Daylen, who turns 2 next month, and 9-month-old daughter Dayah.

Philip Rivers and Antonio Gates were among the several former teammates in the crowd, as were offensive linemen Nick Hardwick, Jeromey Clary and recently retired Kris Dielman. Also in attendance was Ryan Mathews, who replaced Tomlinson as the Chargers’ featured back in 2010.

Tomlinson said of his offensive linemen, ‘‘They were my best friends.’’

Dielman retired in March due to a concussion.

‘‘I was a part of greatness,’’ Dielman said of Tomlinson’s career. ‘‘And it was awesome to be a part of it. It was awesome to watch. I mean, I had the best seat in the house. It was a fun time.’’

Rivers became the Chargers’ starter in 2006 after Drew Brees was allowed to leave as a free agent.

‘‘He carried us,’’ Rivers said of Tomlinson. ‘‘He had such a calming effect on the huddle, on myself. When things weren’t going good we could always hand it to him. When I was struggling a bit during the first half of that season, it was never, ‘C’mon, you’ve got to get it together.’ It was just like, ‘You’re good, keep going.’ I tend to get excited but the game was slow for him. That part was certainly appreciated as a young player.’’

Team President Dean Spanos said few players have had a bigger role or meant more to the team and the city than Tomlinson.

Spanos recalled being told by then-general manager John Butler on the day before the 2001 draft that the Chargers had traded the No. 1 overall pick to Atlanta for a package that included the No. 5 overall pick.

“I said, ‘Great,’ and then asked him who he liked with the fifth pick. I clearly remember him telling me, ‘Well, there’s this great running back from TCU who could help us.’

‘‘It’s funny now, but I also remember asking him, ‘Is he any good?’ And I remember that John said, ‘Yeah, he’s going to be something special.’ I wish John was here today so I could thank him for making what has probably become the most significant trade in the history of the San Diego Chargers.’’

Butler died in 2003.

Spanos said no other Chargers player will wear Tomlinson’s No. 21, and that a retirement ceremony will be held sometime in the future.

Tomlinson and Spanos both signed the ceremonial one-day contract.

‘‘I didn’t even check how much it was for. It was worth it,’’ Spanos quipped.

‘‘People and players like LaDainian Tomlinson don’t come around very often, if at all,’’ Jets chairman and CEO Woody Johnson said in a statement. ‘‘His humility and work ethic made it clear why he will be remembered as one of the game’s best players. Without question, his next stop will be the Pro Football Hall of Fame.’’

Jets GM Mike Tannenbaum said Tomlinson ‘‘never took one day for granted when it came to any aspect of his performance. His commitment drew his teammates to him and elevated everyone that came in contact with him.’’

From The Boston Globe

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Wade Davis works at the Hetrick-Martin Institute, which serves lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or questioning youth in New York.

If it seems like a unique occupation for a former NFL player, it probably is … especially since Davis is one of those rare ex-players who’s come out of the closet.

The former cornerback’s name isn’t a well-known one, but Davis did attend training camps and even played in preseason games as a member of the Tennessee Titans, Seattle Seahawks and Washington Redskins from 2000 to 2003. He never stuck on a regular-season roster but did earn stints in NFL Europe with the Berlin Thunder and Barcelona Dragons.

In interviews with OutSports and SBNation, Davis, 34, talked about the challenges of being closeted in an NFL locker room.

“I think subconsciously, I understood that being gay — the way I was raised — was wrong, and there was no way that my family, at least in my mind, would accept me,” Davis told SBNation’s Amy Nelson. “And also that my football family would (not) accept me just because of the perception of being gay meant that you’re less masculine.”

That meant holding himself back personally even as he grew close to heterosexual teammates like the Titans’ Jevon Kearseand Samari Rolle.

“You just want to be one of the guys, and you don’t want to lose that sense of family,” Davis told OutSports. “Your biggest fear is that you’ll lose that camaraderie and family. I think about how close I was with Jevon and Samari. It’s not like they’d like me less, it’s that they have to protect their own brand.”

MORE:  Are NFL locker rooms ready to welcome gay players?

Kearse recently showed support to gay athletes in a separate interview with OutSports and suggested the NFL might be ready to accept homosexual players in the locker room.

But Davis, who also now does campaign work for President Obama, never felt comfortable treading on what’s essentially been taboo ground in professional team sports, at least for active players. He was even advised to avoid another unidentified player on the Titans who was labeled as “different” with the thought that such an association would jeopardize Davis’ ability to make the team.

“There was a part of me that was a little relieved because, when I knew football was over, my life would begin,” Davis said to OutSports. “I had this football life, but I didn’t have another life away from that. Most of the guys had a family and a wife, but I had football and nothing else.”

He says he first realized he was gay in 11th grade.

“I can remember being in gym class and having the desire to look at a boy in a way that I should look at girls,” he told SBNation.

If that sounds like a red flag to players who might be skittish with him in their inner circle, Davis says it absolutely shouldn’t be the case.

“At never a point (during) my NFL playing career did I take advantage of the privilege that I had to see a man naked. I never even remotely got aroused in the locker room. It’s a place where those guys are your family, and the last thing that you want to do is make anyone in your family feel uncomfortable. It’s not even a thought,” he said.

“I think the players have to understand that there’s nothing that’s gonna happen.”

What hasn’t happened so far is a pro player in a major North American pro league to reveal he’s gay during his career. And even Davis admits that might fall to a star player rather than a fringe one like he was even though he hopes someone steps out in the near future.

“I’m gonna be flat-out honest with you, it probably shouldn’t (be a reserve player) if he wants to keep his job,” he said. “If he’s the 53rd man on the roster, if he’s a free agent who’s fighting for a job, maybe he shouldn’t. I would hope that he would.”

Is such a courageous step in the offing?

“I can’t say it’s in the next five or 10 years, but I definitely think it’s on the horizon,” says Davis, who came out himself only recently.

“I started to realize that, ‘You know what? There’s an opportunity here for me to really make and affect change — not only with myself but with the world.’ ”

From USA Today

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Terrell Owens just keeps finding people to blame for his downward spiral. Everybody cannot be wrong. I have always said that I have a lot of love for Terrell Owens, but there is no smoke without fire.

Read More -

Owens has severed ties with longtime agent Drew Rosenhaus and hired Jason Woy, a Dallas-based agent who represents current Cowboys Anthony Spencer, Jason Hatcher, Kenyon Coleman and Dan Bailey.

“I am making changes in my life so I can continue my career as a professional football player,” Owens said in a statement on his website. “I have hired Jordan Woy as my new agent.  It was important for me to hire someone who believes in my ability to help an NFL team and believes in me as a person.”

The 38-year-old wide receiver, recently released by the Allen (Texas) Wranglers of the Indoor Football League, still harbors visions of a return to the NFL, where he last played for the Cincinnati Bengals in 2010.

“I love the game of football and I know I can help a team,” Owens’ statement said. “I have had to go through some humbling times, but I am more determined than ever to show a team that I can be a huge asset to them as a player and a team leader in the locker room.”

After his very public release from the Wranglers, it was reported that the team offered Owens a $50 severance package that also included TO being evicted from the home the Wranglers provided him and forced to hand over the keys to a loaner Jeep Cherokee.

Shortly after, Owens demanded a public apology from the Wranglers and $160,000, an amount Owens believes he is owed for four game checks. According to his attorney, Owens was most upset that the team said a missed charity appearance at a local hospital played a role in his release.

Owens claimed the Wranglers privately acknowledged that a team publicist gave him an incorrect date for the visit.

“Our fans are amongst the best in the league and it is impossible to maintain a player when even our fans notice and comment on a player’s lack of effort both on and off the field,” Wranglers owner John Frankel said in a statement at the time of Owens’ release. “We need to do what is best for this team, our fans and this community.”

Owens appears ready to put the episode with the Wranglers behind him and focus on a return to the NFL, where he has played 15 seasons for five teams. For his career, Owens is sixth on the all-time list in receptions (1,078), second in receiving yards (15,934) and tied for second in receiving TDs (153).

“I am in the best shape of my life and preparing daily,” Owens said on his website. “I am looking for a team who will give me that chance and I know I will pay big dividends to them as a player and teammate.”


I have always loved Terrell Owens as a football player. Unfortunately, he is set to self destruct in 5-4-3-2-1.. His gifts as a football player  and two seasons of his highly rated, self-titled  TV show (The T.O. Show), were not enough to slow down his downward spiral. Terrell hasn’t had much success with controlling his emotions and his money. A recent article said that he is broke and now he gets cut by an Indoor Football team. Come on T.O.!! Get it together!!

Read  More..

Terrell Owens’ tenure in the Indoor Football League came to an unceremonious end Tuesday when the Allen Wranglers released the controversial former NFL receiver.

Owens signed with the Wranglers in February, receiving a six-figure salary and an ownership stake in the franchise located about 30 minutes north of Dallas. Owner Jon Frankel said Owens’ ownership stake has been terminated because he violated his contract.

Frankel cited Owens’ refusal to play in two upcoming road games that are critical to the Wranglers’ playoff hopes and Owens’ no-show for a scheduled appearance at a local children’s hospital as the breaking points in the team’s relationship with the receiver.

“Our fans are amongst the best in the league, and it is impossible to maintain a player when even our fans notice and comment on a player’s lack of effort both on and off the field,” Frankel said in a statement released to “We need to do what is best for this team, our fans and this community.”

Owens, who was not required to play in all of the Wranglers’ road games, released a statement through his publicist late Tuesday night. “I appreciate the opportunity that Mr. Frankel gave me and wish the Allen Wranglers all the best moving forward,” he said.

The statement called the manner in which Owens was released “unfortunate.” It said Owens played all games according to his contract and that his legal team is addressing details of the Wranglers’ news release but that Owens’ representatives could not comment beyond that. It also said Owens is focused on returning to the NFL.

The 38-year-old Owens, whose tenures with the San Francisco 49ers, Philadelphia Eagles and Dallas Cowboys all ended acrimoniously, had hoped that playing for the Wranglers could help him get back in the NFL. He received no interest from NFL teams last season despite ranking second all-time in receiving yards (15,934), fourth in touchdowns (156) and sixth in catches (1,078).

Wranglers general manager and former Cowboys great Drew Pearson believes Owens could still play in the NFL, if his performance was the only indicator.

“It’s very difficult to get back into the NFL, especially at that age,” Pearson told the “Ben & Skin Show” on ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM on Wednesday morning. “To me, there’s no question he could play in the NFL. When I see these receivers that are playing, there is no question Terrell could still play in the NFL. But it’s not what happens between the lines with Terrell, unfortunately. It’s how he handles things outside the lines.”

Owens played one season each for the Buffalo Bills and Cincinnati Bengals after being released by the Cowboys after the 2008 season despite being one year into a four-year, $34 million contract extension. He caught 72 passes for 983 yards and nine touchdowns for the Bengals in 2010.

After Owens recovered from knee surgery to repair a torn ACL he suffered after the 2010 season, agent Drew Rosenhaus organized a nationally televised workout to prove his client was healthy. No scouts attended the workout.

Owens caught 35 passes for 420 yards and 10 touchdowns in eight games for the Wranglers.

“It’s disappointing and unfortunate,” Frankel said of releasing Owens, “but [he] could no longer be tolerated by the Wrangler organization.”

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Brian Banks was exonerated last week on a decade-old rape conviction was looking ahead Thursday to try to relaunch a dream taken from him because of prison time he served in the case, the chance to play in the National Football League. Brian was a football standout at Long Beach Polytechnic High School and had been offered a scholarship to play at the University of Southern California when he was accused of rape. Watch this emotional video here:

Fearing a potentially long sentence, he followed the advice of his attorney and pleaded no contest to assaulting a classmate. But he maintained his innocence throughout nearly six years of imprisonment, subsequent probation and registration as a sex offender. And, according to the California Innocence Project, the woman later admitted that Banks had not kidnapped or raped her during a consensual encounter. A judge in California tossed out his conviction last week.

 It didn’t take long for NFL teams to start contacting Banks with tryout invitations, according to news reports, with six in line to work him out.

First among them was the Seattle Seahawks, coached by Pete Carroll, the same man who offered that scholarship to Banks a decade ago, according to a report in the Seattle Times.

“I feel very confident in getting that tryout and producing on the field,” Banks said. “I’ve been working extremely hard for this opportunity.”

Banks was a linebacker in high school, and his team won a state championship when he was a junior, according to the Seattle Times report.

A Super Bowl championship is obviously a long way away, but the 6-foot-2, 245-pound Banks told ESPN’s Rick Reilly he has been working out since October and is confident he’s ready to take the first step in the NFL.

“I’ll make ‘em happy,” ESPN quotes him as saying. “After all I’ve been through these last 10 years, I can still do some things that will impress you.”

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In 2002, when she was just 15, Wanetta Gibson (left), told police that NFL hopeful Brian Banks (right) dragged her across their school campus and raped her. Brian was arrested, tried and locked up. He spent more than five years in prison and another five years on parole. He had to register as a sex offender and was still wearing an ankle monitor until Thursday May 24th when he was exonerated after Wanetta admitted she lied about the kidnapping and rape.

While Brian was locked up, Wanetta’s family successfully sued the school district, claiming it had failed to adequately protect her. The school paid the family $1.5 million.

After ten years of torture for Brian, Wanetta eventually admitted in a videotaped interview with a private investigator that Brian never raped her. But then she was very concerned about the huge pay out her family received. “I will go through with helping you, but … all that money they gave us, I mean me, I don’t want to have to pay that back,” Gibson said on tape. She later refused to repeat her story to prosecutors, but her videotaped confession was enough to exonerate Brian.

A young athlete’s dream of a pro football career was rekindled on Thursday when his conviction for raping a high school classmate was thrown out after his accuser admitted the attack never happened.

Over the cheers of his family and supporters, Brian Banks, 26, called it “the best day of my life, by far.”“If I can do this, I can get through anything,” he told The Daily just after leaving a Long Beach, Calif., courtroom. “This was my hardest part, and, as they say, good things go to people who hustle while they wait.”

In a strange twist, Banks got the chance to clear his name in February 2011 when his accuser contacted him through Facebook and asked him to “let bygones be bygones.” Wanetta Gibson later admitted on tape that Banks had never raped her, setting the stage for yesterday’s dramatic reversal.

When the judge agreed to throw out his conviction on Thursday, Banks lowered his head and wept.

Later, the burly onetime linebacker said he had left behind anger but had not lost his ambition to play in the NFL. “I knew by hanging onto bitterness, it would keep me strangled,” he said.

It was unclear on Thursday whether Banks’ accuser would face any charges. She did not attend Thursday’s hearing and efforts to reach her for comment were unsuccessful. In a videotaped interview with a private investigator, Gibson admitted repeatedly that the rape and kidnapping story was fabricated. She also voiced concern about a payout — $1.5 million — she received from the Long Beach school district while Banks was in prison.

“I will go through with helping you, but … all that money they gave us, I mean me, I don’t want to have to pay that back,” Gibson said on tape. She later refused to repeat her story to prosecutors, according to court documents filed by Banks’ attorney.

In 2002, Banks was a 17-year-old senior at Long Beach Polytechnic High School with big dreams. The school’s legendary athletic program has spawned dozens of pro sports careers, and was once named the best in the country by Sports Illustrated. A standout linebacker and special teams player, Banks was headed to the University of Southern California on a full scholarship after being heavily recruited by other powerhouse programs.

But his hopes appeared to come to an end in July 2002 after Banks and a 15-year-old Gibson ducked into a school stairway to make out. They did not have sex, but the girl later claimed Banks dragged her across campus and raped her.

The story didn’t hold water, said Banks’ attorney. Gibson gave varying locations for the alleged attack. No DNA was found. Also, how was she dragged across campus in broad daylight without anyone seeing them? Despite the lack of evidence, prosecutors offered Banks a difficult choice: Take a plea in hopes of a short sentence, or face a sentence of 41 years to life.

Banks said he agreed to plead no contest after his lawyer said a jury would see “a big black teenager, and you’re automatically going to be assumed guilty.”

While Banks was behind bars, Gibson’s family successfully sued the school district, claiming it had failed to adequately protect her. The school paid the family $1.5 million, according to Gibson.

Banks said he was shocked when she contacted him online. He was even more surprised when she agreed to speak with him and a private investigator face-to-face, and then admitted fabricating the tale.

“The case was built on nothing,” said Banks’ attorney, Justin Brooks, director of the California Innocence Project. “He took the plea because he was scared and facing 40 years in prison, and his lawyer was telling him to take it.”

Brooks said Gibson admitted she became upset during the encounter when Banks “said something obnoxious to her, and she stormed out and called it rape, and it just snowballed from there.”

Late last year, Banks began an intense workout regime with professional trainers in hopes of getting a try-out with a professional football team. All the while, he had to wear a plastic monitor strapped to one ankle.

“Every day I wake up, I put an extra sock on my GPS to keep it nice and snug and keep it from flying around while I work out,” he said. Brooks said they hoped to have it removed late yesterday.

Banks said he would continue to train. His dream tryout: “The team that wants to give me a chance.”

Pulled from The Daily Post

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I’m so tired of seeing stories like these. We say that we live in a color blind world, but that is so far from the truth. A girl falsely accused this black man of rape and he got sent to prison for a crime he did not commit. While in prison, his accuser was awarded an over $1 million civil settlement. How crazy is this?! Read more

(CNN) — Brian Banks was on “Cloud 10″ Friday, the first full day of the rest of his life, after he was exonerated of a rape he did not commit.

“Today, it started to sink in a little more,” Banks told CNN’s Ashleigh Banfield. “I am overwhelmed. I feel great.”

At age 17, fearing a potentially long sentence, the college football prospect followed the advice of his attorney and pleaded no contest to assaulting a Long Beach, California, high school classmate in 2002.

Banks maintained his innocence throughout nearly six years of imprisonment, subsequent probation and registration as a sex offender.

The case took an incredible twist when the alleged victim sent a Facebook friend request to Banks in early 2011.

According to the California Innocence Project, the woman later admitted that Banks had not kidnapped or raped her during a consensual encounter at Long Beach Polytechnic High School, where Banks was a middle linebacker with a scholarship offer from the University of Southern California.

An emotional Banks, 26, lowered his head and fought back tears Thursday when prosecutors said they were moving to have the conviction dismissed.

“We do not believe Mr. Banks did the crime he pled guilty to,” Deputy District Attorney Brentford Ferreira said after court. “Justice has been served.”

A judge concurred and tossed the conviction.

Rape conviction overturned

“I was overcome with relief but reminded of the pain and suffering I went through in prison and parole,” Banks said. “All the false accusations against me.”

Banks put bitterness aside, though, expressing no interest in taking legal action against the woman who recanted.

“For me, I just want to be positive. I want to be in a better position than what I was yesterday,” Banks said. “The only way that can happen is by eliminating any negative ill will or feelings toward anyone.”

The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office said Friday that it is not currently involved in any investigation of the woman.

“Our standard is beyond a reasonable doubt,” spokeswoman Sandi Gibbons said, referring further questions to Long Beach police.

Police spokeswoman Lisa Massacani said Friday that there was no current investigation.

According to CNN Los Angeles affiliate KTLA, the accuser won a $1.5 million settlement in a civil suit against the Long Beach Unified School District. She claimed that the school’s lax security provided an unsafe environment that led to the alleged rape.

It was not clear whether the school district will try to recoup any of the settlement. A message seeking comment was not immediately returned.

The California Innocence Project took up Banks’ case and went to court on his behalf, saying he and the woman never had sexual intercourse. The alleged victim expressed concern about having to return money she received in the civil suit, the group said.

The group’s director, Justin Brooks, said the Banks case is not uncommon. “Plea bargains have become the 95% solution.”

“Brian has learned that anger is going to eat you up,” Brooks said. “If we hadn’t gotten that recantation, Brian would have gone through this the rest of his life.”

Although he did not have the opportunity to play college football, Banks maintains a dream of playing for the National Football League.

“I’m hoping to draw the attention of some team that takes interest in my story, takes interest in my hard work and gives me an opportunity,” he told KTLA.


That didn’t take long. is already selling Tim Tebow Jets jerseys online for $84.99. Tebow’s No. 15 Broncos jersey has been one of the NFL’s best-sellers the past two seasons. Look for sales of his new Jets jersey to take off as he plays in the country’s largest media market.

Tim Tebow hasn’t even picked a number and his jersey is selling like crazy!! It’s been estimated that Tim Tebow sold between 4 and 5 million jerseys while in Denver. If we do some quick mathematics, even if the Jets make a profit of $25 per jersey, they will make $100,000,000 by selling 4 million jerseys in just one year. That my friends is what it’s all about.  That is more money than Tim Tebow will ever make in his entire career as a football player!!

So called sports specialists have been going on and on about how bad the idea to bring Tim Tebow to the New York Jets is, but none of them have talked about money. Many owners are in football for the money and perks of being an owner of a professional sports team. Many of these teams lose money, so when a business savvy owner sees an opportunity to actually make a massive return on their investment, you better believe that they will jump on it. It’s very simple. The New York Jets are planning a press conference for Tim Tebow, the backup quaterback. No one does a press conference for a back up quaterback if they are not planning to make a boat load of money from them. The press conference will spike the sales of the jerseys. At the press conference, Tim Tebow will select a number and hold up his New York Jets jersey and firestorm of sales will begin.

It’s all about the money people!!!


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