it at Amazon
Non-Fiction - Sports
Out of Bounds
the NBA's Culture of Rape, Violence & Crime
By Jeff Benedict
committed by professional athletes are nothing new. Those who follow
sports can reel off a number of names that have been charged with
a crime or ended up in prison. Jeff Benedict has made a career of
studying the relationships between violence and professional athletics.
In his new book, Out of Bounds: Inside the NBA's Culture of Rape,
Violence & Crime, Benedict examines the criminal histories of
177 NBA players from the 2001-2002 season and makes the assertion
that four out of every ten players has a police record that contains
a serious crime.
names that Benedict drops in his book are familiar to most basketball
fans: Kobe Bryant, Shaquille O'Neal, Damon Stoudamire, Ruben Patterson,
Bonzi Wells, Sam Mack, Glenn Robinson, Allen Iverson. All have had
criminal complaints filed against them and the majority of those
complaints involve some type of assault against women. Benedict
provides explicit details to several of the alleged crimes and manages
to unravel the legalese that entangles most of the cases in a very
readable and accessible manner.
aren't familiar with professional sports and the manner that athletes
are treated, then the stunning arrogance with which the athletes
act and the way the teams they play for continue to tolerate such
behavior will come as a giant shock. Benedict details how teams
regularly ignore or tritely explain away criminal behavior, preferring
to concern themselves with making sure that they are able to put
the best players possible out on the floor, regardless of whether
they adhere to the law or not.
Benedict's condemnation of the NBA for regularly avoiding the issue
and failing to discipline the athletes is well deserved, he could've
added depth to the book by examining where the problem begins. When
athletes are regularly given preferential treatment and not asked
to answer the consequences of their actions beginning as early as
grade school, it is no wonder that they continue that pattern as
adults. That isn't the NBA's fault - it is society's. The NBA may
perpetuate the problem, but they didn't start it and it would have
been nice to see some discussion of that point.
minor complaint aside, Benedict's book is an intelligent examination
of an ugly problem. NBA fans won't find much new information here
- if you regularly read the sports page or any sports periodical,
you've seen the individual stories - but they may be surprised at
the numbers. Those who aren't fans of the league won't find reason
to start watching games now, but they will find cause in joining
with Benedict to demand that the league start forcing its players
to abide by the laws the rest of us must adhere to.