The Ideal Fan or Good Fans?

Sport, Ethics and Philosophy 6 (1):16-30 (2012)
Abstract
This paper is a response to Nicholas Dixon's defence of the moderate partisan as the ideal fan of team sports. For Dixon, the moderate partisan is someone who combines a partisan fan's loyalty for a particular team with a purist fan's desire to see fair and skilful play by all participants. My aim is to argue that there is no ideal fan of team sports. In particular, there is nothing specially commendable about the moderate partisan's loyalty that justifies the claim to be the ideal fan. There are many other ways of being a fan than being a purist or a partisan as described by Dixon. None of them is morally superior to the other, assuming that they meet basic requirements of respect for others and for fair play. I argue that the commitment of partisan fans to particular teams is better explained by other values than the moral virtue of loyalty. A better explanation and justification of partisanship, and indeed of fan interest in sport generally, is found in the human attachment to narrative as a way of creating meaning in our lives
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