bill-swift - June 4, 2012
When it comes to football movies what we really love are the ones that are based on true stories. With football there does not seem to be a shortage of them either with classics like Remember the Titans, The Blind Side, We are Marshall, and Rudy to name a few. There is just something that strikes an emotional chord in our hearts when we know that this is not just a gem from the imagination of some Hollywood writers and directors, but something that actually happened.
If Hollywood knows what it's doing than someone should already be in talks to obtain the rights for the next feel good football movie--the Brian Banks Story.
Brian Banks is a former high school football player and Division I prospect. He was all set to attend USC where any football fan knows professional legends are made. Rather than see his dreams come to fruition, he was sent to jail for a crime he did not commit, the rape of a fellow high school student.
The story is just heart-breaking. Banks and Wanetta Gibson (his accuser) never actually had sex; the extent of their intimacy has been described as a make-out session. For some reason Ms. Gibson decided to cry rape. Even though there was no DNA evidence his lawyers told him to take a plea deal in spite of his innocence.
"She told me I was a big black teenager," Banks said, "and no jury would believe anything I said."
He served over five years in prison and another five on probation. Where ever he goes he has to register has a sex offender, a tag that does not make life easy to live. How many people want to have a sex offender around, perceived innocence or not?
Then the strangest thing happened. His accuser actually hit Banks up with a 'friend' request on Facebook.
Now if you are thinking here that Banks really did commit a crime (revenge), well, it will make for a real dramatic point in the movie, but you'd be wrong. Instead she said she would try to help him clear his name (since he was innocent of the charges and the only thing the DA had was her testimony), but she had one stipulation--she couldn't talk to any lawyers.
Ms. Gibson sued the school district and won a tidy $1.5 million settlement since the school failed to provide a safe setting. So while he was in prison she got to live the high life.
Banks ended up meeting with her and recorded her admitting that she lied about the accusations. That ended up being the key piece of evidence that got him exonerated.
That alone would make for a great movie. You start off with a football star that has all the promise in the world; the story takes a tragic turn when he is falsely accused of rape and goes to prison, he serves his time, gets released, and begins life as a sex offender; justice prevails and his name is cleared.
What about the football dreams?
As luck would have it, Banks is getting his shot to play in the NFL. A number of teams have offered the former linebacker a tryout. of course the perfect ending to the story will be him making it onto one of the teams and getting to live the dream, but the simple fact that he is getting the chance to live the dream that he had so many years ago is not bad either.
If the football dreams don't work out, the Arizona Diamondbacks have offered him a job. Hollywood couldn't have written a better ending.
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