On Biting in Sport—The Case of Luis Suárez

Sport, Ethics and Philosophy 9 (2):214-232 (2015)
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So the Uruguayan footballer Luis Suárez has confessed, apologised and given assurances as to future good behaviour, after his 2014 World Cup assault on the Italian defender Chiellini. There were three immediate excuses and mitigations offered, which we dismiss: that it was inconsequential; that it was no different from many other ‘assaults’; and that it was not particularly serious. Our central question has a different focus: what makes biting in sport such a bad thing, especially since it does not seem always to threaten as much harm to opponents as some other practices? We examine the place of biting in sports rules, especially in combat and contact sports, and the role of consent and criminal liability, before considering when and why biting is seen as unacceptable. We consider arguments from harm, skin penetration, ‘dirty fighting’ and animalism. Finally, we consider the topical case of Luis Suárez, distinguishing reactive from proactive bitin..



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Jim Parry
Charles University, Prague

Citations of this work

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