January 28, 2021

Dan Duchaine’s Portrayal in Steroid Nation

Dan Duchaine is featured in the book Steroid Nation by Shaun Assael. Assael’s narrative is very antagonistic towards bodybuilding / supplements /steroids and makes every effort to demonize Duchaine by relentlessly attacking his personal life. The book’s portrayal of Duchaine has been criticized as being overly sensationalistic with several inaccuracies.

An excerpt from the book entitled “Dan Duchaine: A Founding Father of the Steroids Movement” appears on the ESPN website.

Shelley Hominuk, a close friend of Duchaine, was interviewed for the book by Assael. Hominuk has been very vocal in her criticism of Assael stating that he not only sensationalized and exaggerated certain aspects of Dan’s life but twisted and fabricated others:

…these ESPN excerpts really didn’t have much to say about Dan and steroids. Instead, it exaggerated what we are led to believe what his personal life was like. How Dan was a drug dealing addict and took insane amounts of drugs and pills, which, those who were close to him know is a lie. I spent a lot of time with Dan and can confirm, it never happened. Actually, seeing Dan have an occasional beer was unusual. The book panders to the typical stereotype that anyone who is associated with steroids is screwed up and everyone pays the price.

Steroid Nation states that how Dan deliberately ruined not only his life, but also his wife’s by accidentally acquiring a flat tire on his motorcycle, and how he is to blame for his fictitiously named girlfriend’s plastic surgery tragedy. I can personally vouch that Dan was not psychic or a plastic surgeon. He loved these women very much, and blaming him for these terrible misfortunes, are low blows.

Shaun Assael has received a lot of criticism for attacking a deceased man who was unable to rebut accounts of his life.

Shelly Hominuk, QFAC:

I KNOW the story line as it occurred and Steroid Nation doesn’t cut it. Not on Dan’s professional life, especially not on his personal life, nor on some of the other story situations mentioned.

I know the truth of what is, and what was. I’m still alive to say what is what. Is Dan?

Anthony Roberts, Steroid.com:

And this is how the book goes…soft targets (dead men, people who can’t sue, etc…) are attacked and assaulted, while those with money and the ability to retaliate are left alone. It’s as gutless as it is obvious.

And that’s my main problem with Shaun Assael and his book. It’s safe. He attacks a dead man who has been nothing but honest throughout his short (and often tragic) life. Duchaine was a highly flawed man – but at least he was honest. And for his honesty, Steroid Nation attempts to kill his memory…but only succeeds in martyring him further in my eyes. But when it comes to showing some guts and telling the truth about people who are still alive (read: people who can defend themselves), the book takes the easy way out.

In spite of the critical book reviews, there is a lot of information about Dan Duchaine that has not been published elsewhere. However, the reader should approach the book with a healthy amount of skepticism given some of the criticisms of the portrayal of Dan by Assael.

Steroid Nation by Shaun Assael

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