Sport, moral interpretivism, and football's voluntary suspension of play norm

Sport, Ethics and Philosophy 3 (1):49-65 (2009)
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In recent years it has become increasingly the norm in football1 to kick the ball out of play when a player is, or appears to be, inadvertently injured. Kicking the ball out of play in football represents a particular instantiation of a generally understood fair play norm, the voluntary suspension of play (VSP). In the philosophical literature, support for the VSP norm is provided by John Russell (2007) who claims that his interpretivist account of sport is helpful for evaluating complex moral issues in sport in general and issues related to injury in football in particular. This paper examines whether Russell's interpretivist-backed account of autonomy can adequately inform football players as to the nuanced and ambiguous moral considerations that arise in relation to the VSP norm. The paper goes on to identify the highly complex dynamic circumstances football players need to consider in order to better discharge their moral responsibilities when faced with inadvertent injuries



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