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Out of Bounds: Inside the NBA's Culture of Rape, Violence, and Crime Hardcover – June 15, 2004

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In what is bound to be one of the more controversial sports books of this year, Benedict (Pros and Cons: The Criminals Who Play in the NFL) applies his superb investigative reporting skills to the "dark, sinister side" of dozens of NBA players, painstakingly detailing criminal behavior ranging from drug abuse and domestic violence to armed robbery and rape. Using criminal background checks on nearly 200 NBA players; thousands of pages of trial transcripts and other legal documents; and more than 400 interviews with police officers, attorneys, players, victims and witnesses, Benedict tells hard stories, some well known and others discussed in depth for the first time here. Benedict also has no fear of naming some big names—including all-stars Patrick Ewing, Gary Payton, Glenn Robinson and Damon Stoudamire—to detail what he calls "the rash of lawlessness that is currently gripping the NBA." Benedict exposes how life as a touring player in the NBA offers vast amounts of free time and sex, encouraging criminal behavior and leading to a warped perception of women and their availability, as well as producing an environment "hot-wired" to produce incidents of sexual assault. He explains how the "see-no-evil approach" of NBA teams and their armies of lawyers fosters the perception in players that they are above the law, leading to outrageous behavior toward law-enforcement officials. As well, he explores the role that agents play in keeping criminally accused players from accountability. This is an excellent book that proves its point that life in the NBA is "out of control and absolutely demands close scrutiny."
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Harper; First Edition (stated) edition (June 15, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060726024
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060726027
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,293,529 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Jeff Benedict published his first book - Public Heroes, Private Felons: Athletes and Crimes Against Women - during his first year of law school in 1997. At the time he was interning in the District Attorney's Child Abuse Unit in Boston and planning on becoming a prosecutor. By the time he earned his law degree in 2000, he had published three more books: Pros and Cons: The Criminals Who Play in the NFL (Warner Books, 1998); Athletes and Acquaintance Rape (Sage Publications, 1998); and Without Reservation: How a Controversial Indian Tribe Rose to Power and Built the World's Largest Casino (HarperCollins, 2000). By then he'd decided to be a writer instead of a lawyer.

His books on athletes and crime established him as the national expert on the subject. Plus, he was the lead researcher on two groundbreaking studies conducted at Northeastern University - one on student-athletes and violence against women and one on arrest and conviction rates for athletes. In addition to being a regular analyst on network and cable news programs, Benedict served as an expert witness on behalf of rape and domestic violence victims; consulted for law firms representing victims of violence committed by athletes; and frequently appeared as a keynote speaker for women's groups, victim advocacy organizations and law enforcement conferences.

But his revelatory book on the world's largest Indian casino took him in another direction. Without Reservation questioned the legitimacy of the country's most powerful Indian tribe, prompting calls for a Congressional investigation and contributing to the defeat of a 20-year member of Congress that had helped the tribe obtain federal recognition. Benedict's book became the subject of a 60 Minutes segment and the author went on to run for Congress in the district where the tribe and its casino - Foxwoods - are located. His platform was built on reigning in the casino industry. Talk about controversy! Despite earning the support of the Wall Street Journal, Benedict fell short of capturing the Democratic nomination.

But he didn't mind. He just forged ahead and formed the nation's first statewide non-profit corporation dedicated to stopping casino expansion. As president of The Connecticut Alliance Against Casino Expansion, he partnered with Connecticut's Attorney General Richard Blumenthal and led the lobbying effort to pass landmark legislation outlawing new casinos in Connecticut. In 2004 Benedict testified against Donald Trump and other casino moguls before the House Committee on Government Reform as part a congressional investigation into the undue influence of money and lobbyists on the tribal recognition process.

At the same time, Benedict kept writing. In 2005 he conducted a six-month investigation into the negative social and economic impacts of Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods - currently the two largest casinos in the world - and published his findings in a 2-part series in the Hartford Courant: Raw Deal and Losing Hand. He also testified before the Massachusetts legislature and the Philadelphia City Council in opposition to proposals to embrace casino gambling as an economic stimulus. He served as an advisor to municipalities and grassroots organizations throughout the country. The press dubbed him 'Consultant to the Stars' after he was hired to help David Crosby, Bo Derek, Elton John's longtime songwriter Bernie Taupin and others oppose plans to expand the Chumash Casino in Santa Ynez, California. He and Crosby also lobbied the U.S. Senate's Indian Affairs Committee.

Benedict has written five other highly acclaimed books on a wide range of topics. His book No Bone Unturned: The Adventures of a Top Smithsonian Forensic Scientist and the Legal Battle for America's Oldest Skeletons (HarperCollins, 2003) was the basis of a Discovery Channel documentary and was the subject of ABC News 20/20 segment. On the heels of Kobe Bryant's arrest on rape charges in Colorado, Benedict published Out of Bounds: Inside the NBA's Culture of Rape, Violence & Crime (HarperCollins, 2004), which was the basis of a 2-part special on ABC News 20/20 also titled 'Out of Bounds.' During pre-trial proceedings in the Kobe Bryant case, Benedict got access to sealed court documents and medical records that became the basis of three stories he wrote about the case for Sports Illustrated. After Bryant's case was dismissed, Benedict wrote a short series on Bryant for the Los Angeles Times, including an award-winning feature story that revealed why the case against Bryant fell apart.

In 2007 Benedict published The Mormon Way of Doing Business: How Eight Western Boys Reached the Top of Corporate America (Warner Business Books). It was based on interviews with the CEOs at JetBlue, Madison Square Garden, Dell, and Deloitte & Touche, along with the CFO of American Express and the dean of Harvard Business School. Benedict also wrote and co-produced his first television documentary based on the book. It aired on BYU-TV and on the PBS and CBS affiliates in Utah. He filmed commercials with Glenn Beck to promote the short film. After the release of the book and the film, Benedict teamed up with the executive he had profiled for a series of forums at Yale, Harvard, Wharton, Columbia, and Brigham Young University's Marriott School of Business.

The following year Benedict was commissioned to write a book on a company that Warren Buffett purchased for $200 million. A few years later it was worth over $1 billion. How to Build a Business Warren Buffett Would Buy: The RC Willey Story (Shadow Mountain) was released in 2009. Buffett wrote the book's foreword. Also in 2009, Benedict released Little Pink House: A True Story of Defiance and Courage (Grand Central Publishing). He spent three years chronicling the eminent domain battle in Kelo v. New London, considered the most controversial Supreme Court decision since Roe v. Wade. The book received universal praise: "a fascinating narrative" (New York Times Book Review); "an absorbing read" (Wall Street Journal); and "a mind-blowing story" (NPR's Diane Rehm). Following the book's release, Benedict spent a year traveling the country with plaintiff Susette Kelo, talking to Americans about property rights.

Today Benedict is a regular contributor for and a Distinguished Professor of English at Southern Virginia University, where he teaches a seminar called Writing and Mass Media, along with a course on current affairs. He is a frequent public speaker on athletes and crime, Indian gaming, eminent domain, and leadership and ethics in business. His forthcoming book chronicles the making of the world's #1 foodborne illness lawyer Bill Marler, who rose to prominence while representing children poisoned in America's largest E. coli outbreak. Benedict has begun working on a new book that he's been privately commissioned to write about an Islamic fundamentalist who converts to Christianity and is imprisoned as an infidel.
Jeff Benedict was born in 1966 in New London, Connecticut. He has a Bachelor's in History from Eastern Connecticut State University, a Master's in Political Science from Northeastern University, and a J.D. from the New England School of Law. He previously practiced law in Connecticut, where he has spent most of his life. He currently lives in Virginia on a Civil War-era farm with his wife and best friend Lydia Benedict and their four children.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 23 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 30, 2004
Format: Hardcover
While Out of Bounds is a well-researched book, the author (Jeff Benedict) succumbs to the flaw in logic known as the overextended generalization. The book's overall premise -- that NBA players as a whole are a bad brood -- is not supported by the information presented. There are some -- and I repeat, some -- compelling stories of crime and decadence in the book. (Examples: the Ruben Patterson and Atlanta Gold Club stories.) But this does not add up to a basis for castigating the NBA as a whole.
Some of the incidents that Benedict describes are not worth the effort spent to discuss them. Example: the incident in Portland where Scottie Pippen threw water in an obnoxious fan's face. So what? This incident does not prove Benedict's premise, yet it was one of the first incidents discussed in the book.
The author also takes aim at lawyers (and agents) who represented players in the incidents discussed in the book. But Benedict himself is a lawyer, and he knows full well that lawyers are responsible under the law to zealously represent their clients. Benedict seems disturbed that NBA players can buy high quality legal advice. Well, again, so what? High profile businesspeople do the same. Martha Stewart, Dennis Kozlowski, and Frank Quattrone all come to mind. Why aren't NBA stars entitled to obtain the same high quality legal advice?
Overall, Out of Bounds weaves together some interesting and disturbing stories. But those stories do not add up to the support needed to prove Benedict's larger premise.
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7 of 10 people found the following review helpful By R. Spell VINE VOICE on July 23, 2004
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Benedict chooses a premise that is easy to prove: Professional athletes, particularly NBA players, statistically are more likely than the general population to commit crimes, specifically crimes of sex and violence. His research is very compelling as he provides statistics on the number of players in his sample who have been accused of crime.

But I do have mixed emotion about this book. The biggest flaw is after stating his thesis, he then gives examples. These are graphic and what grab the reader. But, in my opinion, he spends an exorbitant amount of time on a few examples. So, instead of focusing on a well-researched subject, he relies on a few examples. Now these examples are horrible. Specifically Rueben Patterson. You become more and more amazed at the stupidity and sense of entitlement of some of these athletes. It is appalling!

My second gripe with this book is the story of the Iowa State freshman basketball player who commits armed robbery but is found not guilty, per the book, primarily due to the testimony of his coach, Johnny Orr. This is another detailed history which makes for interesting reading. But virtually all of it concerns an athlete with problems in college. This player's stay in the NBA was very short and not crime related. Benedict has plenty to prove his point. But I was very unimpressed with the stories he chose. Was it because these stories are the most entertaining to tell even if they only narrowly touch NBA players?

Overall, I am glad I read this book. It contains great information and interesting, though disturbing stories. But I find it a little distressing on the thesis/proof connection. And it's also damning to the many good players/citizens who are painted with this broad brush. But if you are a female and want to be around NBA players, you need to understand what you may be dealing with.
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9 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Robert M. Logan on July 13, 2004
Format: Hardcover
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.
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