Victor Conte became a guru to a roster of stars who wanted improved performance. Did he cross the line?
When the feds want to raid somebody, they start with an advance man, the kind of guy who you'd say was casing a joint if he were working the other side. The advance man showed up early on the morning of Sept. 3 at a sleepy industrial park in Burlingame, Calif. He asked some questions at a toy store, then surveyed the business next door, where the occasional fluttering of a small American flag stuck in a mailbox was the only visible sign of activity. His mission was simple: to leave its occupants no way out when the hammer came down.
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Peter Keating is a senior writer at ESPN The Magazine, where he covers investigative and statistical subjects. He started writing "The Biz," a column looking at sports business from the fan's point of view, in 1999. He also coordinates the Magazine's annual "Ultimate Standings" project, which ranks all pro franchises according to how much they give back to fans. His work on concussions in football has earned awards from the Deadline Club, the New York Press Club and the Center for the Study of Sport in Society.