Singer on Cheating in Football
Good to see that big name moral philosophers are tackling the important ethical questions of the day, such as whether German goalkeeper Neuer should have admitted that the ball crossed the line. (Hat tip: Dominic Roser.)
It's an interesting read, though the Fowler anecdote isn't as I remember it: I seem to recall him once being booked for disputing the award of a penalty and then scoring it (but maybe I'm wrong or perhaps that was a different incident). There are, however, other cases that are rather like a batsman 'walking' - such as when a player does after a professional foul or red card.
I have to say though that I thought Singer's article was a little simplistic. It assumes that some standard set of moral rules applies universally, to footballers both qua human beings and qua football players. Maybe matters are more complicated. Perhaps - despite their gloves - goalkeepers, like politicians, cannot avoid dirty hands.
Moreover, one of the rules of football is that the referee's decision is final. Had the referee awarded a goal when the ball didn't cross the line, then it would have stood. Can the Germans really be blamed for taking advantage of the fact that he ruled this ball not to have done so? Maybe it's unreasonable to expect that, unless we're sure what we'd have done had the situation been reversed.
I haven't given a great deal of thought to these topics, but readers looking for more philosophical reflection on football are reminded of the recent Open Court title Soccer & Philosophy.