I invite him to my New York City office, offer up a seat and a nice cup of Earl Grey, make sure he's comfortable -- then grab the nearest Huffy and throw it at him.
If I'm Mooney, I paint Landis bright red and throw him in a pen with the world's 200 angriest bulls. I coat his feet and hands in Cheez Whiz and introduce him to the rats in Central Park. I borrow the most dangerous platform boots I can find and perform the Paul Stanley three step atop his pelvis.
Then I do it all again.
Three years ago, shortly before she became the editor of
Because she is kind and whole and uncommonly forgiving, Mooney wishes no ill upon Landis. Having written several books myself, I know what goes into the process -- the agony, the self-mutilation, the hours upon hours of transcribing tapes and digging through old clips and tracking down friends and family members and teammates. It is a true burden; bushels of time that Mooney will never, ever have back.
Hence, it must be asked, how can someone like Landis -- or
Uh ... yeah.
The sad truth is, we reside in a world of warped athletic justifications. The dad has his 5-year-old taking BP for six hours per day, "because college is expensive, and we need a scholarship." The basketball player grabs an opponent's wrist while trying to get a rebound "because the ref can't see it -- and if I'm not caught, it's not cheating." The soccer player pops greenies "because I just need a quick pick up, and it's not illegal in Ecuador" and the baseball player uses steroids and HGH "because I keep getting hurt, and I want help staying on the field."
Without question, as he sat down with Mooney, giving his side of the story, Landis possessed a justification of his own. Maybe he used because everyone else did. Maybe he used because he was injured. Maybe he used because he had a tough childhood. Maybe he used because some obscure biblical passage says it's OK.
Whatever the case, Landis lied. He lied to himself, he lied to his fans, he lied to his sport.
And he lied to Loren Mooney.