Philosophy 68 (265):343-368 (1993)

Sport often seems to teeter on the edge, on one side of the entertainment industry, on the other of cheating violent aggression: from a make-believe simulacrum of serious play to a nasty chemically enhanced descent into a Hobbesian state of nature. Such perversions lend credibility to reductive views of sport itself as a metonymic feature of capitalism. But that sport as entertainment means fixing it to produce exciting outcomes and amplifying capacities to superhuman proportions, while sport as aggression means treating rules as mere obstacles to brute dominance, shows how far we in fact are from these abysses, even in the days of the Coca Cola/Nike Olympics, Vinny Jones and cricket sledging. In this essay, I try to delineate through history— from Homer to … Gomer?—a common culture of sport and sportsmanship that, with its excesses and perversions, continues to operate as one, albeit complex, ideal of human excellence
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DOI 10.1017/S0031819100041267
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