Out of Bounds: Inside the NBA's Culture of Rape, Violence, and Crime is a searing indictment of professional basketball players who live in a world where criminal laws and social norms don't exist, a world where they are given license to act above the law.
On the court, they dazzle us with their spectacular physical feats. They generate millions of dollars of revenue for the NBA and their teams. They inspire adulation. But underneath all the glitz, the money, and alley-oops is a seamy underbelly, a rash of lawlessness that is gripping the NBA.
Based on a first-of-its-kind investigation into the criminal histories of 177 NBA players from the 2001–2002 season, Out of Bounds shows that an alarming four out of every ten NBA players have a police record involving a serious crime. They are All-Stars and they are journeymen, involved in crimes ranging from armed robbery to domestic violence to gun possession to rape.
Out of Bounds takes a hard look at shocking cases, with graphic accounts of physical and sexual violence and other outrageous conduct by players. In all, more than 250 people are named, including many prominent NBA players. It exposes the environment and culture that encourages such criminal behavior. It also explains the unique challenges these cases pose for law-enforcement agencies and prosecutors. And Out of Bounds takes readers inside the hidden yet critically vital role that lawyers, agents, and fame play in insulating criminally accused players from accountability.
Author Jeff Benedict, an expert on athletes and crime, draws his conclusions from exhaustive research. In addition to his criminal-background checks, the author retrieved documents from law-enforcement agencies, courts, and private attorneys. He conducted more than 400 interviews with police officers, prosecutors, defense lawyers, players, agents, victims, witnesses, and coaches. What emerges is a disturbing and appalling picture of men who live above the law.
A seminal and important work, Out of Bounds will forever change how we look at the NBA and its stars' lives of excess and privilege.
|File size:||1 MB|
About the Author
Jeff Benedict conducted the first national study on sexual assault and athletes. He has published three books on athletes and crime, including a blistering exposé on the NFL, Pros and Cons: The Criminals Who Play in the NFL, and Public Heroes, Private Felons: Athletes and Crimes Against Women. He is a lawyer and an investigative journalist who has written five books.
Read an Excerpt
Out of Bounds
Inside the NBA's Culture of Rape, Violence, and Crime
Besides money, life in the NBA offers vast amounts of two other things: free time and sex. A pro game takes two hours to play. Throw in a couple hours for preparation and travel, and that leaves a tremendous amount of discretionary time. Much of that time is spent on the road, where NBA players play a minimum of forty-one games a year and spend as many as a hundred nights in hotels. This lifestyle leads many players to spend great amounts of time at strip clubs, topless bars, and other such nightspots. And players' celebrity status attracts a steady stream of opportunities for consensual sex. It is an environment hot-wired to produce allegations of sexual assault. This environment also makes it nearly impossible for a rape victim to file a criminal complaint against an NBA player without being labeled a groupie or a gold digger.
To overcome these labels, a rape victim's reputation must be clean enough to survive a relentless, well-financed effort to discredit her. Simply put, it takes a victim nothing short of Snow White to obtain a conviction in a sexual assault case against a celebrated athlete and emerge with a reputation still intact. Twenty-three-year-old Jenny Stevens said yes when the owner of A Nanny For You -- a Seattle-area nanny agency -- called on January 4, 2000, and asked if she would accept an interim position with a family in nearby Bellevue. A permanent nanny had already been placed with the family but couldn't begin work for about two weeks. Jenny had previously done short nanny stints with two other wealthy families. She needed the money. She had finished two years of study at a community college, completing a medical assistant training program, and was trying to save enough to return to school.
The agency told Jenny that the husband in the family she would be working for was an NBA player on the Seattle Sonics named Ruben Patterson. The name meant nothing to Jenny. She didn't follow sports and had little interest in basketball. Despite growing up in Washington, she couldn't name one Sonics player.
The next day, Jenny went to the Patterson home for an interview and to meet with Ruben's fiancée Shannon and their three children: a thirteen-year-old boy, a seven-year-old boy, and a five-month-old baby girl. The oldest boy was, in fact, Ruben's brother (Ruben is his legal guardian). The seven-year-old was Shannon's child from a previous relationship. Ruben was the biological father of the baby.
Although they were close in age, Jenny and Shannon's situations were quite different. Jenny is white; Shannon is black. Jenny lived in a cramped apartment and hustled for part-time jobs. Shannon lived in a spacious home in a gated community in Seattle's wealthiest suburb and did not work. Jenny and her fiancé, who worked with at-risk youth, had just postponed their marriage plans. Shannon was about to marry a twenty-four-year-old celebrity making $1 million a year playing basketball.
Yet none of this seemed to matter. Jenny and Shannon hit it off instantly, as if they had known each other for years. And Shannon observed that the children were immediately comfortable around Jenny, an experienced daycare worker who handled the Patterson baby with ease. After talking for two hours, Shannon decided against hiring the other nanny and offered the permanent position to Jenny. Her duties would include being home during the day with the baby; picking the boys up after school; doing homework with them; cooking dinner; delivering the boys to doctor's appointments and sports practices; and doing the grocery shopping and housecleaning. There would be some overnights, as well as opportunities to travel with the family. Her hours would range between forty and sixty per week. The pay was $12 per hour. Jenny accepted on the spot, without even meeting Ruben, who was away.
When Jenny told her parents she had landed a full-time job, they were pleased. Her mother, a registered nurse, was glad her daughter was in a home with a baby. Mr. Stevens, a career social worker who investigated child-abuse cases for the state of Washington, was intrigued that his daughter would be employed by an NBA player. Mr. Stevens followed the Sonics and knew of Patterson's on-court reputation. An All-American out of the University of Cincinnati, Patterson had been drafted by the Lakers in 1998 before signing with the Sonics in 1999. In his first season in Seattle he had established himself as one of the league's premier defenders, considered one of the few players in the league capable of guarding Kobe Bryant one-on-one. He was nicknamed "Kobestopper." The scouting report on Patterson was that a "nasty attitude drives his game" and "he doesn't back down," both traits highly sought after by NBA coaches and fans.
Jenny's father knew nothing of Patterson's off-the-court reputation or his background. Neither did Jenny.
Before he became a wealthy NBA star, Patterson grew up in the Cleveland area, where he had experienced violence from all perspectives: as a victim, a witness, and a perpetrator. According to records on file at the Cleveland Police Department, Patterson was held up at gunpoint and robbed while walking on a Cleveland street during his senior year of high school. An incident report indicates that two men pulled up alongside him in a car, aimed a long-barrel handgun at him, and demanded that he remove his shoes and hand over the gold chain around his neck and the cash in his pockets. "Don't run or I'll shoot you in the back," one of the thieves threatened Patterson, who complied with their demands. The men then sped off.
In 1997 Patterson witnessed a vicious domestic-violence incident in which his mother was attacked by an individual armed with scissors and shouting: "I'll get all you f---ers." Patterson stepped in and was able to disarm the suspect and the police were called. Patterson's mother declined to press charges.
Also in 1997, police were called after Patterson's sister reported being assaulted by him. The report said that Patterson "punched victim in face with closed fist and when victim tried to defend herself, named suspect then grabbed victim by her throat and lifted victim up in the air and then dropped victim on top of her vehicle and she rolled off and fell to the ground." No arrest was made in this case, which was forwarded to prosecutors for review and dropped.Out of Bounds
Inside the NBA's Culture of Rape, Violence, and Crime. Copyright © by Jeff Benedict. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Author Jeff Benedict has written three other books about the bad behavior of athletes, giving him a unique perspective. With the criminal trial for sexual assault against Kobe Bryant expected to proceed later this summer (2004), Out of Bounds is timely. Unfortunately, Benedict's effort to be timely (write and research the book in less than six months wherein "missing a deadline was not an option") was not without cost. The book is sloppily proofread - "Stockhouse" on page 17, "an (sic) famous athlete's bed" on page 58 are a couple examples.Benedict asserts that 40% of the 177 players researched from the 2001-2002 NBA roster "had been arrested or otherwise recommended by police to prosecuting attorneys for indictment for serious crime." Truly a startling statistic! Unfortunately, about half of the book is devoted to just three players - Ruben Patterson, Sam Mack and Glen Robinson. (Shaquille O'Neal is given about a half dozen pages in the introduction.) Although nearly 70 players would have been identified as "out of bounds" during Benedict's research, a quick count turns up about 20 names of NBA players in the book. Undoubtedly, other players are named, but it would take a very careful line by line review of the book to determine who they are as Benedict does not include an index of the players he mentions.Out of Bounds attempts to detail a truly disturbing trend in the NBA. As lightly written as it is, the collection of bad incidents should be required reading for every NBA owner, league official and employee.Is the bad behavior more prevalent now or is it less ignored? That question remains unanswered.Sadly, little ink is devoted to solutions and policy suggestions - certainly if Benedict did not have the time to develop his own suggestions he could have found a myriad of NBA officials, owners, coaches, current and former players or even fans to interview.Out of Bounds is disappointing in that it could have been so much better. It reads more a like commercial deadline driven book than one where the author is concerned with the depth and quality of his work. It is unfortunate. Benedict has the credentials to have done so much better.Just my opinion . . . .
A synonym for NBA quality hoopsters? Self-indulgent, shameless, violent, spoiled, anti-social narcissists with a sense of entitlement that approaches psychopathic levels.Also squarely lays a lot of blame on coaches, ADs, and owners.
I purchased this book to learn the facts of the rumors that abound of the NBA. It appears the rumors are fact. The reader learns this after one or two chapters. The book continues on and on with the same information about different players. I am not a fan of the NBA so the names were not relevant except for a few. I became very bored after a couple of chapters.
Great read really informative. Once i started reading, i couldnt put it down. It will be worth your time if your an NBA fan.
It is definitely eye opening to see that the NBA & colleges continue this behavior by hiding or ignoring the charges! After you read this book, you will see that there are different rules for Money & Fame. If this were me or you, we would be in jail ! I think every one who watches these guys should read this and see what class some of their favorite players really have. The sad thing is kids will see that MONEY TALKS!
First of all I want to say that 'The ideas I stand for aren't mine. I borrowed them from Socrates. I swiped them from Chesterfield. I stole them from Jesus... If you don't like their rules, whose would you use?' --Dale Carnegie. After reading much of this book, I was left with some interesting thoughts and opinions to the book and the claims contained therein. I believe that for the most part I am a product of my environment. Place me in a positive environment, I will likely respond positively. Place me in a negative environment, I will have a tendency to respond negatively. Nothing justifies lewd & mischievous behavior. Nothing justifies violence or indecency. But a large number of these athletes which this author 'chose' to sample, comes from an inner city environment where homes are usually broken, where there is little or no funding for programs that builds character and moral, where there is usually little or no funding for programs that promote academics or the advancement of education. I am concerned as to exactly what motivated this author to choose the National Basketball Association. I'm concerned with the fact that Charles Oakley's comment in regards to the Gold Club in Atlanta being 'just like going shopping' was taken out of context and then applied to a broader spectrum as though every NBA athlete supported those statements. I am concerned that we continue to point our fingers at the problem but no one dare raises a finger to find a resolution. These guys hardly can be rehabilitated. The challenge is to change the environment of the youth and put funding into programs that will help shape our youth while they are youth. A bow's path can not be altered once it has been fired, it must be directed before it's release. I wonder why the author chose not to sample the National Hockey League? I wonder why the author chose not to sample the National Baseball League? I wonder even, why the author didn't press the issue with NBA players from abroad? There are reasons for all of these things. OK, 40% of all NBA players have been convicted of what he calls a 'serious crime'. That's 40% of approximately 360 total NBA players, of which greater than 90% are African American....hmmm. 21% of all NFL players have been convicted of a 'serious crime' (21/~2000 of which approximately 50% are African American). I'm not insinuating anything, after all...'The ideas I stand for aren't mine. I borrowed them from Socrates. I swiped them from Chesterfield. I stole them from Jesus... If you don't like their rules, whose would you use?' --Dale Carnegie.
I am a huge basketball fan. I live in Detroit, home of the 2004 NBA Champions! I was at the winning game. Anyway, I never realized how sleazy some of these players are. After reading the dates of some of these crimes, I realized I never even heard about 90% of them in the media. They use their money and social status to help bail them out. It's so outrageous. Read this book to help gain a better perspective on what's really going on in the world of sports!
We often hear about NBA players being in one sort of trouble or another. Usually the story 'goes away' pretty quickly. Once in a while -- like with the current Kobe Bryant situation, it actually comes to something. This book was shocking in it's description of the goings-on of some of the NBA's elite. It really opened my eyes to what's going on out there. I'll certainly look at basketball players differently now. I've never looked up to athletes as heroes, but after reading this book, I have no respect at all for some of these creeps out on the basketball court.