Dopers, liars, and questionable heroes have been in the news a lot lately, thanks to both Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens being snubbed for the Baseball Hall of Fame and Lance Armstrong getting set to finally admit to doping to Oprah Winfrey.
I’m fascinated by these men as uniquely tragic figures—Shakespearean almost: Lauded as heroes while harboring a secret that could be their complete undoing. It’s too simple to suggest that they are merely living dual lives—faking it in public, while privately racked with guilt and the fear of being caught. Because there is something else all three of these men share—massive chips on their shoulders. They know that they are great, with or without the drugs. They know that they worked extremely hard for their success. They know that other, less famous or talented athletes have done the exact same thing. (For the record, in the case of Clemens, I'm speaking of an alleged use of steroids. It hasn't been proven.)
I’ve always thought that this fascinating mindset—the daily horror of living a lie coupled with the endless mechanism for self-justification and rationalization—would make an excellent subject for a film.
And then I realized I already...