Untold: Hall of Shame Review – catch Conte if you can

By Marc Miller
Published: August 14, 2023 (Last updated: September 6, 2023)
2023 Netflix documentary film Untold: Hall of Shame Review


Untold: Hall of Shame is noteworthy for pulling back the curtain on the steroid era where no one can be trusted.

We review the 2023 Netflix documentary film Untold: Hall of Shame, released on August 15th, 2023. 

You may have never watched a documentary feature like Untold: Hall of Shame, where trusting anyone becomes difficult. Even the reporter, tipped off about the IRS storming Balco’s offices, refuses to reveal their source. Then there’s the federal agent, who boasted about the investigation as if they were Elliott Ness, using it as a deterrent tactic.

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This particular Untold story exemplifies pure absurdity. While everyone seemed to make a profit, the athletes were indeed punished. Some claim there was experimentation and deny knowing. At the same time, others said they never took any banned substances.

Untold: Hall of Shame Review

Untold: Hall of Shame follows the story of Victor Conte, who founded Bay Area Laboratory Co-operative (BALCO) in 1984. Operating as a blood testing company, Conte utilized his self-taught nutrition knowledge to identify mineral deficiencies in athletes’ bodies using an ICP spectrometer. He then created supplements believed to enhance their physical and athletic abilities.

However, it wasn’t until the mid-90s that Conte began signing high-profile athletes following years of hardship. He developed a system of “drugs and mineral supplements,” undetectable by even Olympic testing standards. Those included erythropoietin, human growth hormone, modafinil, and testosterone cream.

Among the well-known players involved are linebacker Bill Romanowski, baseball slugger Barry Bonds, the Giambi brothers, and track stars Tim Montgomery and Marion Jones.

Most of them declined to be interviewed and vehemently denied any knowledge of using steroids, with the exception of Montgomery.

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His story is intriguing, as he claims he had no clue about Conte not being a licensed physician at that time. This is the crux of the argument against Conte, whom the government alleges bypassed FDA regulations without proper medical oversight.

The documentary shares stories of female Olympic athletes missing menstrual cycles for months or years due to these practices.

While the moments above are sobering, the majority of the feature is portrayed as a comedic farce, highlighting the hubris of everyone involved. Conte acts as a counter at the card table, navigating the grey areas in federal medical oversight.

A Frank Abagnale-type character from Catch Me If You Can skillfully manipulates the system while maintaining (near) perfect legal camouflage.

Is Untold: Hall of Shame good or bad?

Untold: Hall of Shame is a good sports documentary because it explores ethical grey areas in medicine. Just because what Conte was doing wasn’t technically illegal — he denies handing out steroids, and his lawyers managed to have forty of the forty-two federal charges against him dropped — that doesn’t mean it was ethically correct.

Is Untold: Hall of Shame worth watching?

Untold: Hall of Shame is worth watching for its revealing perspective on the scandal and its concise summary of the federal agents’ investigation. The documentary explores the markers of elevated levels of steroids and investigates why “cream” was used to mask the high numbers. Moreover, it delves into how Conte’s legal team strategically utilized definitions to alleviate him of most legal charges.

The narrative of Untold: Hall of Shame is noteworthy. While not excusing the athletes, let’s explore what happened. Conte’s expertise led to him becoming a paid commentator, assisting agencies in checking for steroid use. Baseball looked the other way, enjoying the biggest ratings bonanza of the steroid era.

The athletes were denied Hall of Fame entries, stripped of winnings and medals, and now bear the burden.

What did you think of the 2023 Netflix documentary film Untold: Hall of Shame?? Comment below.

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