I always felt like as observers of a sport, we tend to like and dislike the wrong people. This book takes a look at some of the things that players do behind the scenes and how so many things are swept under the rug. Of course illegal acts are illegal acts but some are treated as worse crimes than others but int he end, players seem to get away with little or no punishment.
For example, the book goes into detail about former (current at the time) NBA player Ruben Patterson and his ordeal with the nanny who he sexually abused. I vaguely remember hearing something about it back when it happened but it seemed to disappear so quickly. I also think that so many people dismissed it or were not surprised considering this was during the 'Jailblazer' era of the Portland Trailblazers where seemingly every Trailblazer player was getting in some kind of trouble: Damon Stoudamire, Bonzi Wells, Zach Randolph just to name a few.
But back to the point that the author makes, these athletes seem to get away with everything and explains some of the reasons for it. For example the people who are the victims in these instances don't particularly want all the media attention because they know if it goes to trial, they'll constantly be monitored by the press and their privacy will cease to exist. What they tend to do is they keep a low profile and discontinue their cooperation with the authorities and surely enough, the cases usually drop.
In the case of Sam Mack, he continually broke the law and even with a sexual assault accusation was readmitted back into the university since it was just an accusation. He continued to receive second chances despite all of his transgressions, basically because of his incredible talent and potential. He even failed to pay his lawyer's fees even though these were the people who were keeping him from jail and the ones who essentially helped get him and keep him in the NBA.
What it really comes down to is that the NBA really wants to paint such a great picture of all of these athletes in order to make them more appealing and marketable for their merchandise and other things. In the case of Allen Iverson, his bad boy image was appealing to people and the NBA chose to embrace it.
I really think Charles Barkley said it best when he said, 'I'm not a role model'. There are a number of great athletes who also make great role models but the ones that people look up to aren't always the best role models and aren't nearly as 'perfect' as what they seem to be on the tv screen. I feel like I'm being more realistic than cynical when I say that these athletes will continue to do what they do and get away with it but it's also our fault for building these people up with continual support. I mean for one, based on a poll more people in the united states hate LeBron James more than they hate Ben Roethlisburger.
I definitely recommend this book, not just for basketball fans but for anyone. There's some disturbing details in there pieced together from evidence and depositions but people should know what really goes on.
One of the consistent trends in modern American history is the progressive shrinking of the number of occupations in which those employed are exempt from public scrutiny. Used to be the President was above the fray, but Nixon and Watergate changed all that. Likewise, the fatherhood got tainted by the sex-abuse scandals starting in the 1980's. The occupation of NBA player has now succumbed to this trend, as books like these examine the seedy side of NBA life and its players. Written … more
I love basketball, exercise, reading, business, movies and occasionally some brainless reality TV shows =P I am more than happy to help anyone out with anything here on Lunch and definitely looking forward … more
Consider the Source
Use Trust Points to see how much you can rely on this review.
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...