The Virtues of a Good Fight: Assessing the Ethics of Fighting in the National Hockey League

Sport, Ethics and Philosophy 9 (1):32-46 (2015)
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Violence in sports is under intense public scrutiny. One hotly disputed issue concerns the acceptability of violent retaliation in sports, particular in the form of fighting in the National Hockey League. The question posed here is: Can fighting in the NHL be virtuous? Some think not, maintaining that fighting is undisciplined and ostensibly at odds with the virtues of good temper and justice. Contrary to this conclusion, this paper presents arguments that support the view that fighting in the NHL can be virtuous and clearly and consistently action guiding if certain conditions are met. These conditions require that fighting as a practice helps to provide an education in the virtues, is reasonably safe, is good for the community of participants, and is part of a morally sensitive and progressive tradition and organizational structure. Yet in the end, while fighting in the NHL can be morally justified, recognizing and instilling the virtues of a good fight would require some rather significant formal..



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Abe Zakhem
Seton Hall University

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