Football Player Imprisoned On False Rape Charges Cites ‘Privilege’ In Brock Turner Case

Brian Banks, a former standout high school football player who spent five years in prison on rape charges that turned out to be false, criticized the 6-month sentence given to former Stanford swimmer Brock Turnerciting “a case of privilege.”

Banks spoke to The New York Daily News this week, recounting his experience and expressing his disagreement with the sentence in the Turner case.

Banks’ Story

Banks was 16 years old in 2002 when a 15-year-old girl falsely accused him of raping her. Facing up to 41 years in jail, Banks maintained his innocence, turning down plea deals for 25, 18 and 9 years.

According to a 60 Minutes interview from 2013, Banks’ lawyer was worried that Banks – an African American who played linebacker on the football field – wouldn’t get a fair trial from a jury.

So, as CBS News reports, the lawyer, also African-American, persuaded Banks to plead “no contest” to avoid the maximum sentence of 41 years. But a judge still sentenced Banks to 6 years

The New York Daily News reports that Banks ultimately served five years and two months in prison plus five more on parole.

The L.A. Times reports that in 2012, the girl who accused Banks met with him and admitted she had fabricated the story and that he hadn’t raped her. She refused to admit the lie in court (which would force her to return the $1.5 million she and her mother had won by suing the school where she alleged the rape had happened), but Banks secretly recorded the conversation. The recording was enough to get Banks’ conviction overturned and officially clear his name.

Banks’ Comments On Turner Case

Speaking in 2016, 12 years after he was falsely accused and 4 after he was cleared of wrongdoing, Banks told The New York Daily News that “privilege” played a role in the disparity between his sentence and Turner’s.

“I would say it’s a case of privilege,” Banks told The New York Daily News. “It seems like the judge based his decision on lifestyle. He’s lived such a good life and has never experienced anything serious in his life that would prepare him for prison. He was sheltered so much he wouldn’t be able to survive prison. What about the kid who has nothing, he struggles to eat, struggles to get a fair education? What about the kid who has no choice who he is born to and has drug-addicted parents or a non-parent household? Where is the consideration for them when they commit a crime?”

The Daily News goes on to compare the two cases briefly:

Turner didn’t have a criminal history. He is white. Banks didn’t have a criminal history, either, didn’t even have a speeding ticket. He is black. He was making out on his high school campus in Long Beach, Calif., with a 15-year old girl during the summer of 2002 and by the end of the day, she accused him of rape. To this day, Banks doesn’t know why.

Banks is “surprised” the courts found a way to consider Turner’s background and that “he wouldn’t know how to deal with career criminals.”

Nobody took that into consideration for Banks. He was just 16 and he was an innocent man. “You know a man is guilty, so why aren’t we unleashing half of the punishment that was unleashed on Brian Banks when he was innocent and there was no evidence?” he said. “They gave me six years. They gave him six months.”

Banks feels the female victim in the Turner case “has been totally ignored. She has to live with her hardship and tragedy for the rest of her life.”

Turner’s Mugshot Released

Courtesy of Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office.

Courtesy of Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office.

In another addendum to the Turner story, the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office released Turner’s official mugshot from the January 2015 incident this week. According to NBC News, media outlets had been requesting Turner’s police mugshot – which is a matter of public record under California law – for months, but to no avail.

NBC News says the sheriff’s office and Stanford University passed responsibility between them – the sheriff’s office maintained it was Stanford’s place to release any photos, while Stanford claimed its was the sheriff’s responsibility.

A freelance journalist named Diana Prichard eventually received two mugshot photos and posted them to Facebook. The first is at the top of this page, the second to the right of this section.

You can read more about the Brock Turner case here:

In This Story

Leave a Reply

10 Comment threads
23 Thread replies
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
23 Comment authors
newest oldest most voted

There is only one reason why Turner was given a disgustingly light penalty. It’s not very hard to imagine what that is.

Irish Ringer

The judge was a Stanford alum and also an athlete as captain of the school’s lacrosse team, so he could relate to Brock in that aspect?


Nope, gotta be racism. Can’t be anything else. Definitely has nothing to do with money. I mean, his skin is white.


I feel like this is a matter of him being a exceptional college athlete. There’s a long history of college athletes getting off Scott free or reduced sentences the same thing that happened to Brock Turner happened on 1994 to an African-American athlete. There’s also Jameis Winston who got off Scott free despite their being evidence of the act

Swimmer Thieroff

I think that it is true that his athletic performances helped him, but I would also say that socioeconomic status had to play a pretty large role as well. Regardless, this disparity in treatment of one (innocent) party over another demonstrably guilty one is absolutely despicable…

Trock Burner

He wasn’t exceptional. He was at the bottom end of a pretty mediocre Stanford team.


Wasn’t he on the junior national team?


Everyone at Stanford went to juniors.


The judge was also a former captain of the Stanford lacrosse team, a fact which some people are raising as a possible source of bias, unconscious or not.


This is the problem of associations .We hear something false & because it excites us , it stays a permanent marker whereas the outcome (aka legal proceedings) don’t & we either forget it or never bothered to find out. The Duke Lacrosse boys hired a stripper (not illegal but tacky for both sides ) called Crystal Magnum who claimed massive abuse. Everybody jumped to her defence because she was black & thought to be already some sort of victim. There was a very dirty district prosecutor & a very biased Duke staff who to this day have not recanted their accusations. The end was the case against the boys collapsed & later Crystal went on to be a convicted murderer.… Read more »

Irish Ringer

Gina speaks the truth on her examples of manufactured outrage.


correction – A small chance that THOUGH he may have roughed her up , it was her state of being e.g. choking on her own vomit & not trauma that caused her death. There would be a difference & I believe the appeals may be based on this. so far they have been unsuccessful but the more the alcohol factor becomes pre eminent the better his chances of appeal/re classification become.

Of course many reading this are already so prejudiced that this is something they would be opposed to vehemently. We have to remember -our opinions are just that.

David Berkoff

A great read is “Missoula” by John Krakauer. It’s about the rape culture at University of Montana and the football team. The fallout has been tough. Enrollment is down 20% and UM cut about 200 jobs.


I agree that this sentence is absurdly light but I’d like to know the Jameis Winston evidence you’re referring to. He has been exonerated by three separate processes including the kangaroo court of a student conduct hearing where evidence that is not admissible in a real trial was allowed. If you follow that case closely it better resembles Brian Banks than Brock Turner. Just my 2 cents.

Irish Ringer

He was exonerated of the rape charge, but come on FSU isn’t going to come down hard on a football player and just because there wasn’t enough evidence doesn’t mean some questionable things didn’t happened there. Hardly a model citizen while at FSU, but much of it just dumb kid stuff IMO. Liked to play around with pellet guns causing apartment damage, steal food, and act like he was above it all by ditching disciplinary hearings and mocking the crab leg incident. Was also investigated for profiting off his image, which I’m OK with for these college athletes, but none the less one more questionable behavior by him. As far as I know he’s shaped up while in the NFL… Read more »

Apples to Apples

Good article, good comparison, good on swimswam for posting.

About Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson swam for nearly twenty years. Then, Jared Anderson stopped swimming and started writing about swimming. He's not sick of swimming yet. Swimming might be sick of him, though. Jared was a YMCA and high school swimmer in northern Minnesota, and spent his college years swimming breaststroke and occasionally pretending …

Read More »

Want to take your swimfandom to the next level?

Subscribe to SwimSwam Magazine!