Aaron Harper on Playoffs

One goal of my work is to promote and develop the field of philosophy of sport. This informs why I organized the Sport Studies Symposiums at Rockford University and continue to organize panels for IAPS at the APA. It is also part of why I write this blog, do a podcast (on hiatus currently), and tweet. It is a great pleasure to see a colleague whose work in its early form was presented in one of these avenues be published on a major platform.

The most recent case of this is Aaron Harper’s new publication: “”You’re the best around”: an argument for playoffs and tournaments” in the latest issue of the Journal of the Philosophy of Sport. Aaron criticizes the arguments in the literature critical of the value of playoffs and offers a defense of what he calls Championship Pluralism. This is the view that there are multiple worthwhile ways of determining and deciding the best team or player.

Aaron presented an earlier version of this paper at the Central APA IAPS meeting in 2015. He and I also discussed the issues raised by his paper in a podcast in 2014. All the credit for this achievement is Aaron’s, but I am glad to have helped Aaron in a small way to develop his work from an idea to a publication.

Leave a comment

Filed under playoffs, Sports Studies

CFP: Philosophy of Play Deadline Extended

Submission deadline extended: March 1, 2016

Reason Papers: A Journal of Interdisciplinary Normative Studies (of which I am a co-editor) is soliciting contributions for a Spring 2016 symposium on normative issues in play. The journal invites submissions that explore the nature of play; its developmental importance; and its role in human lives, values, and societies. We are also interested in explorations of the relationship between play and other human activities (such as other recreational activities, education, or work), structured vs. unstructured play, and children’s play vs. adult play.  Submissions are due by February 1, 2016. March 1, 2016

The CFP at Reason Papers.

Information on Submitting.

Leave a comment

Filed under CFP, play, Uncategorized

Praiseworthy, but not Sportsmanship

Like most people, I found the story of Norton High School wrestler Deven Schuko and Dighton-Rehoboth wrester Andy Howard to be heartwarming and moving.

Andy, a special needs student with Down syndrome, was looking for a match and Deven, who hadn’t lost a match, agreed to wrestle him. Deven then let Andy win the match. In the process, Deven demonstrated maturity, leadership, and kindness. It was widely praised as a great act of sportsmanship.

I see this kind of praise of sportsmanship a lot in local press. It makes sense: people love these kinds of stories. I love them; they are uplifting.

That said, there is an aspect these kind of stories that I find troubling. There is an element of patronizing that partly undermines the moral value of these acts. Does Deven show Andy appropriate respect and honor by letting him win? I am not entirely sure, but since Andy, his friends, and family seem to appreciate what Deven has done here, I have no quarrel on that front.

Putting that question aside for now, I want to focus on the claim that this even an act of sportsmanship.

Stipulating that Deven’s act was praiseworthy, it is nonetheless incorrect to label it as an example of sportsmanship. Such acts are more about how we ought to live together as human beings; and less about the ideals of sport. Sportsmanship and morality are not the same thing. There are obvious overlaps and parallels, but doing the right thing is not necessarily the same thing as good sportsmanship (and, I suppose, vice-versa). It is a mistaken to label any good action by an athlete as a good sportsmanship (this holds, as well, for any bad action of an athlete as bad sportsmanship).

This points us to the important question: what is sportsmanship? At the core of most theories of sportsmanship is the view that sportsmanship governs or guides the participants’ actions within and related to the sporting contest. It is not merely the following of the rules of the contest; the focus is on the action within the domain of those rules. It is about how, in the context of the contest, the participants comport themselves; how they treat and deal with the other participants; and how they treat and deal with the officials, fans, and coaches.

So why isn’t Deven’s action in this particular instance a case of sportsmanship in addition to being virtuous? This wasn’t a true match (consider: would a college recruiter consider this match qua match as part of Deven’s wrestling track record?). It is more of a play-act, an exhibition, or a staged event. There is no criticism in that. But Deven’s action comes from, and is justified by, a concern about morality and generosity towards Andy; it doesn’t, primarily come from the nature of being a participant in sport.

My point here is not at all to criticize Deven or Andy. As a philosopher, I believe it is important to understand the concepts we employ and to employ them correctly. I know to many this sounds like empty semantics, but applying sportsmanship too broadly or too narrowly can lead us to misunderstand it. This can mean that it becomes less effective as normative guide of our behavior.

Here’s a potential concern. In the case of Deven and Andy, it seems like Deven is showing proper generosity and respect to Andy. But this would not always be the case; indeed I think this is the proverbial exception that proves the rule. Imagine a different scenario. Drake is like Deven: he is one of the top wrestlers in his state. Andrea is female wrestler but there are few females in her weight class against whom she can compete. She hasn’t competed much and has never won. She is looking for one more match before graduating. Drake decides to accept a match. Is the lesson he takes from Deven and Andy that he should let Andrea win? That would be the wrong lesson (imagine Andrea’s proper outrage at learning of Drake’s plan). Sportsmanship tells competitors to treat opponents with proper respect by offering appropriate effort and competition. Drake, in this case, ought to match Andrea’s effort and compete against her on the basis of fair and equal respect for each other and the sport.

But this is not what is going on with Deven and Andy. Deven is providing for Andy the experience of what it would be like to win a wrestling match. Given this context, there is no demand on Deven that he offer the requisite effort and competition. In other words, it is not a case of sportsmanship; sportsmanship is not the relevant concept.

2 Comments

Filed under sportsmanship, wrestling

Reminder: CFP: Philosophy of Play

Submission deadline approaching: February 1, 2016. March 1, 2016

Reason Papers: A Journal of Interdisciplinary Normative Studies (of which I am a co-editor) is soliciting contributions for a Spring 2016 symposium on normative issues in play. The journal invites submissions that explore the nature of play; its developmental importance; and its role in human lives, values, and societies. We are also interested in explorations of the relationship between play and other human activities (such as other recreational activities, education, or work), structured vs. unstructured play, and children’s play vs. adult play.  Submissions are due by February 1, 2016. March 1, 2016

The CFP at Reason Papers.

Information on Submitting.

Leave a comment

Filed under CFP, play, Uncategorized

Job: LECTURER IN SPORT STUDIES

The University of Iowa has announced a search for a lecturer in Sport Studies. I thought some of my readers might be interested. https://jobs.uiowa.edu/faculty/view/67947

The University of Iowa is seeking a sport studies scholar for a three-year renewable lectureship teaching in the sport studies curriculum of the Department of American Studies. The position is effective August 17, 2016.

The teaching load is four undergraduate courses each semester; teaching assignments might include Inequality in American Sport; Women, Sport and Culture; Sport in America after 1900; and Race and Ethnicity in Sport. Teaching in the summer session for additional salary is also a possibility. Some undergraduate advising will be expected.

Leave a comment

Filed under Sports Studies

Philosophy of Sport: CFA/P

Conference CFA:

International Association for the Philosophy of Sport (IAPS)

The 44th IAPS conference will be held September 20-24, 2016 in Olympia, Greece sponsored by Fonte Aretusa and hosted at the International Olympic Academy. The deadline for the CFA is March 31, 2016.  More info.

British Philosophy of Sport Association (BPSA)

The annual BPSA conference will be held April 4 – 6, 2016 at the University of Brighton, School of Sport and Service Management in Brighton, England. The deadline for the CFA is January 25, 2016. More info.

Journal Call For Papers:

Reason Papers: Philosophy of Play

Reason Papers is soliciting contributions for a Spring 2016 symposium on normative issues in play. We invite submissions that explore the nature of play; its developmental importance; and its role in human lives, values, and societies. We are also interested in explorations of the relationship between play and other human activities (such as other recreational activities, education, or work), structured vs. unstructured play, and children’s play vs. adult play.  Submissions are due by February 1, 2016.

CFP: Communication and Sport

This is a call for manuscripts for the C&S journal: “C&S publishes research and critical analysis from diverse disciplinary and theoretical perspectives to advance understanding of communication phenomena in the varied contexts through which sport touches individuals, society, and culture. “

Leave a comment

Filed under CFP, IAPS, Philosophy, play, Site Announcements, Sports Studies

Eye-opener at University of Missouri

A lot has been written already and a lot more will be written about what the University of Missouri football team did. For those who have been doing campus visits to Hogwarts this weekend and missed this story, the football team at the University of Missouri threatened not to play if the president of the university didn’t step down. The president resigned on Monday. This was part of a campus protest regarding racism and other issues on campus.

This story has a lot of twists and turns. It is not simply—in some ways it is barely about—the football team. It’s about race, racism, campus politics, free speech, ‘safe zones’, and institutional control and leadership—among other things. Most of this doesn’t have to do with sport, so I’m not going to comment on it here.

The interesting sports angle to this story is the football team and the immense power they demonstrated. In just about two days, the football team pushed the president of a large state university out the door. Wow. Whatever one might think about the complicated underlying issues that gave rise to this protest, this is huge. It is a potential game-changer.

College athletes, well, the elite division 1 football and basketball players, are waking up to the potential power they have. As many commentators and columnists have noted, including Yahoo’s Dan Wetzel on the Dan Patrick Show, the whole NCAA system rests on the players always playing. If they refuse to stop playing, the whole system grinds to a halt. That’s quite a sword to dangle over Mark Emmert’s head.

I doubt, though, we will see athletes walk out this weekend or in the near future in order to get paid, to get better health insurance, or something similar. The Missouri situation is not so much a blueprint as it is an eye-opener. It was a special circumstance we are not likely to see in the unionization of the college-athletes. The Missouri team was linked with other campus groups and importantly had the backing of the coach. This was, at least in part, about race and so had a unifying effect of bringing the campus, the public, and the media together. But, being about race, it had a silencing effect as well: criticism of the football players for engaging in this protest would almost certainly be framed as being racist and so there was very little criticism. That will not be the case when the issue is more about the pecuniary interests of the players. There will be many vocal critics and the coaches likely will not give their support either. At Missouri, the team was apparently standing with and joining with the campus; the focus was on the university and racism. There was a clear and straight-forward demand that could be met or not: the university president resigning. In walk-outs related to pay-for-play, the players will largely stand alone and the athletes will be the focal point. The demand for pay, share of revenue, unionization, etc., is something that will require months of negotiations and the rewriting of countless rules. It’s a lot more complicated of a goal, one that is harder to know if it has been attained. It will require athletes holding out for a lot longer than two days with many losing scholarships and positions. All of this, along with the huge logistical difficulty of organizing players at different campuses, suggest we are not going to see a college-athlete strike anytime soon.

That said, the players see that they have this power. It will be tested again. How and when they wield it, and what it accomplishes, will be intriguing.

5 Comments

Filed under athletes, Football

Daily Fantasy, Gambling, and Sports

In the recent ‘scandal’ surrounding Daily Fantasy (DFS), it is frequently referenced as ‘gambling’. So one question in all this, is Daily Fantasy gambling?

Legal Definition

As in many such discussions, a large part of the issue depends on the definition. In this case what do we mean by ‘gambling’? Most states, and the federal government, use what is often called the ‘dominant factor test’. Essentially, the test is whether the outcomes of the game are more due to chance or due to skill. In general, if you can see players with greater skill winning the game more often than non-skilled players, that’s a good sign that the dominant factor is skill and not chance. Thus, such a game wouldn’t qualify as gambling under this description. (I want to thank the panel at ISLE symposium for the legal background.)

Fantasy (including Daily Fantasy) does seem to show that skill plays a large and dominant part in winning, rather than chance. Luck and chance play a role (e.g. players get injured), but a fantasy player’s knowledge and skill in drafting and building lineups is much more significant.

There are some states, including my own (Arizona), that don’t use this test and have a lower bar for considering something gambling. Thus Daily Fantasy is illegal in Arizona. (The other such states where DFS is illegal: Arkansas, Delaware, Iowa, Louisiana, Michigan, Montana, Tennessee, and Washington).

Common Usage

But beyond the legal definition, we might wonder what gambling means in more common usage and if daily fantasy fits that.

If we mean just any situation where you take a big chance, where you put something of significant value at risk, then a lot of things are ‘gambling,’ including fantasy. But so, it would seem, is the primary game of football itself. People use the term ‘gambling’ in ways like this all the time (I’m taking a gamble on taking the job offer in Austin over the one in Dallas), but this is not helpful in understanding the phenomenon at issue. We need to put aside these metaphorical usages and narrow our focus.

Gambling, then, usually refers to games where:

(1) The value at stake is financial or material (as opposed to an emotional value like pride or enjoyment).

(2) The role of chance is significant in the outcome. This is not just that the outcome is unknown but that chance plays a role in determining the outcome (e.g. roll of the dice, a random number generator, or the deal of the cards). It also means that the player is passive in terms of the outcome; that is, there isn’t anything they can do to affect the outcome.

(3) There is some financial/material prize for winning.

If I am correct, Daily Fantasy is not gambling because it fails #2. Namely, the main cause of winning is how one uses his or her skill and knowledge to create a line up. Chance plays a role, but the players are not passive. The more skill they have and the better they employ it, the better their chances of winning.

Paraphrasing Jerry Seinfeld, not that there is anything wrong with gambling. That is, even if DFS were gambling, I don’t think that matters from a moral perspective unless we have a prior argument that gambling is morally problematic. I don’t think we have such an argument. It matters, certainly, from a legal perspective given the current prohibitions in most states against gambling. (Prohibitions with which for the most part I disagree.)

Gambling and Sport

That said, the concern about gambling and sports is that there is big money at stake in gambling and the potential for, or even just the appearance of, corruption or interference in the game itself. There is, I think, a similar concern with daily fantasy. The professional sport leagues need to be careful here in working with fantasy companies. First, they need to make sure there isn’t any corruption going on. They need to have transparent and clear safeguards to prevent undue influence between the fantasy and the real games. Second, they need to make sure there isn’t even an appearance of anything corrupt. The same goes for the DFS companies themselves: the appearance of corruption is almost as damaging as actual corruption.

I don’t think there is a concern with the kind of marketing agreements between the leagues and the fantasy companies that we are seeing. The KC Royals have an official daily fantasy sponsor, but the sponsor doesn’t lose or gain anything depending on the Royals’ performances. So there is no real worry about the daily fantasy company trying to manipulate the game in the way a gambler might try to get a player to shave points or throw a game. The fantasy companies earn money by people participating, not according to the performances of a player/team.

But there could be concerns about players, coaches, officials, or others who can impact the outcome of games. They might have something personally at stake and use their position to manipulate the game so that outcome is achieved and they win. It might be best to prohibit or, in the case of the NFL, limit the participation of these individuals in such games. This wouldn’t be too dissimilar from a radio station employee not being eligible for the station’s contests. It prevents even the appearance of corruption.

The DFS scandal

Similar, the recent scandal involving DraftKings and FanDuel seems more about the appearance of corruption than actual corruption.

The information released, though not trivial, doesn’t strike me as the significant advantage that some have painted it. As I understand it, the information showed the percentage of players owned. Knowing what other players are owned can figure into your calculations about whom to start (in order to differentiate your team from the other teams). Nevertheless, I think most knowledgeable fantasy players probably have fairly good intuitions about this anyway. They won’t have the exact numbers, of course, but most will know, for example, that a good chunk of people are going to have Aaron Rogers as QB. Knowing the exact number doesn’t seem like it is going to make that big a difference. Still, it is not irrelevant or trivial information and safeguards (or at least better safeguards) should be in place regarding this information.

The real worry here is not the leaked information. It is that individuals at the company have access to this information when it is non-public and could, it seems, act on it. That seems like an unfair advantage (though we could quibble about that) and so people are concerned that the insiders at DFS companies could use this information to dominate leagues. Again, we could quibble about the fairness, appropriateness, or effectiveness of this. Nevertheless, the appearance that so-called insiders could be taking advantage of the market undermines the trust between players and fantasy leagues. So even if nothing untoward is actually going on, it is still damaging to this relationship and needs a transparent fix. The obvious fix seems to be, similar to the NFL limitation, a contractual prohibition or limit on playing DFS for individuals with access to this non-public, advantageous information. Companies that do not fix their trust dimension will lose out in the marketplace.

Regulating DFS

I don’t play DFS (mostly because it is illegal in AZ). But I think it is an exciting and dynamic industry. It highlights how markets can respond to individual tastes and desires in unforeseen and creative ways. What I fear from this situation is that lawmakers and regulators will come in and in the name of consumer protection or some such thing, kill or weaken this growing market. This situation certainly shows that the industry needs to make some changes as it matures. Competition and consumers should drive those changes and will do so in ways we can’t predict, finding solutions to problems in fitting and creative ways. Government regulations, on the other hand, will tend to hamper and prevent such dynamism; imposing one-size fits all, costly rules. The likely outcome of government regulation of DFS, based on what normal happens in regulated industries, is the cartelization into a few dominant players (instead of today’s dynamic and growing field of competition) and the locking in of current practices and standards (instead of seeing ingenuity and development of new more effective and appropriate practices).

Lastly, if I had to gamble I would bet (see what I did there?) that the main forces driving the ‘regulate DFS bus’ are those connected in some way to the heavily regulated gaming/gambling industry. DFS is a competitor and this would be an easy way to weaken it. (One might compare this to Uber and the taxi companies—the same phenomenon seems to be at work there: a dynamic new business is threatening the old way of doing things, providing greater choice and options to meet individual desires and needs in unforeseen ways.)

1 Comment

Filed under Fantasy

Ethics and Fantasy Sports

This is the text of my remarks from Santa Clara University’s Institute of Sports Law & Ethics 2015 Sports Law and Ethics Symposium. The Symposium was held on September 10, 2015. I was on the” Fantasy Sports: Gaming, IP, Ethical and Other Issues” panel. The symposium was great, I want to thank ISLE for inviting me.

This panel is made up of lawyers and industry leaders who have direct involvement in the business of fantasy sports. I’m an academic philosopher who plays fantasy sports purely for fun. So, my approach is probably going to be a little different.

As a philosopher, I seek the deeper, more fundamental meaning of things. As an ethicist, I look at this deeper meaning and try to see what it tells us about how best to act. In this case, what does understanding the nature of fantasy sport tell us about how to act regarding fantasy sports? My time is limited, so I will point towards some of the ethical concerns in fantasy sport, and close with some of the positives.

Fellow sports philosopher, Chad Carlson, dubs Fantasy Sports: “parasitic, second order, or derivative games because they find life only by building off of real sports’ elements.”[1]  Fantasy is driven by the real sport, without the football there is no fantasy football. This makes them games about other games. Calling them parasitic suggests something negative about this relationship; that fantasy feeds off and harms its host sport. But before addressing that concern, it is important to see that fantasy sport, though a game that is built off another game, is still truly a game: it has its own distinct goals and methods. It has its own rules, structures, and traditions.

But this derivative nature of fantasy does lead to a group of objections to fantasy. These objections are all roughly based on the concern that fantasy sports are changing the way we understand, consume, or appreciate sport. The derivative game is affecting the primary game and, according to these objections, that’s wrong.

There are concerns that the popularity of fantasy will and has driven rule changes to the primary game. This direct effect on the game could be a concern if it undermines or weakens the primary game. One wonders how much of the NFL rule changes in the last decade that have driven up offensive numbers were driven by the popularity of fantasy. (As a side note, I don’t think those changes came about because of fantasy—but it is not hard to see how that could have happened.)

Fantasy, particularly fantasy football, tends to overemphasize certain features of the game over others. In general, offense is emphasized over defense. Certain positions, like QB or WR, are emphasized over other essential positions, like left guard or a blocking TE. These latter positions are essential for competitive teams to be able to play offense well, but they are not tracked by fantasy (at least not directly). This tends to skew our understanding of the game of football in one direction.

A related concern is that Fantasy negatively affects our fandom. In real football, most fans root for a team to win. We want the Patriots or, I guess, the 49ers to win. We value the importance of the team and teamwork. But, in fantasy we root not for the team but the individual players, and only for as long as they are on our team. In some cases, shockingly to me, fantasy players might root against their own real team for the sake of fantasy. In their study of the fantasy industry, Andrew Billings and Brody Ruihley report that 41% of all fantasy participants indicated they would prefer a win by their fantasy team over their regular/favorite team.”[2]

Fans might come to prefer to watch something like the Red Zone channel instead of a game in its entirety. This breaks up our sense of the continuity and narrative of the game of football. If we only watch scoring plays or highlight plays, we don’t really know how the game went. We don’t really understand how the teams played. I know that when I have missed a game and just get the highlights, I have one impression of the game that can be quite different and misleading from the one I get when I get around to watching the tape of the game. So if fantasy shifts our consumption shifts more and more towards individual players and their highlight moments, we lose a certain aspect of what the primary, real game is about.

I don’t have the space to fully flesh this out, but one response to this spectator corruption argument is that fantasy is not the cause of this trend, but an effect. That is, fantasy might just be popular because it is tapping into a pre-existing desire to watch football in this manner. It might be that the only reason we sat and watched one team for the whole game and watched that team week in week out is that prior to satellite, one just didn’t have any other options. Now one has a myriad of consumption options, and this has opened up fandom in new ways. That seems to be a good thing for fans.

Fantasy as Gambling

A second group of concerns about fantasy sports is that it is just a kind of gambling. It is not, according to these objections, based on superior skill, effort, or knowledge but luck. First, even if this is true—and I don’t think it is—it’s not clear that this is an objection to fantasy without a second argument that gambling is itself wrong. Second, while a fantasy player does not have as much agency or ability to affect the fantasy game outcome as the running back or the coach does in real football, the fantasy player does have to draft well, adjust his or her line up, and make other important changes that will bear on the outcome. A fantasy player’s skill and knowledge at doing this affects their chances of winning. Much like words with friends (a scrabble-like game), you have reduced agency. You can only play the letter tiles you are dealt. It doesn’t really matter how good you are, if all you draw is vowels, you are not going to do well. Nevertheless, you still have some ability by employing one’s skill and knowledge to affect the outcome.

In-Game Fantasy Ethics

An area of fantasy sports ethics that I am very interested in is the ethics of playing fantasy. By this, I mean how should fantasy players play? Are there ethical issues here? Let me suggest a few.

One is the potential conflict of interest when the commissioner of a league is also a player in the league. This is usually the case, and it opens up the potential for the commissioner to set the game in his or her favor. I don’t know how often this occurs, but the potential conflict is something that one needs to be aware of.

Another is the potential for more knowledgeable players to take advantage of newbies in terms of trades or staking out the waiver wires. This seems unfair and it can lead to a lack of competitive balance.

A frequent problem in fantasy leagues is the ghost team. This is the team owner that, because of extended absence or lack of attentiveness, fails to set their line-ups properly, starts injured players, or starts guys in their bye week. This tends to upset the balance of leagues and undermines the playfulness of the game. Failing to keep one’s team up-to-date and the lineups set is a failure to meet one’s obligations as a fantasy player.

One of my friends had drafted Adrian Peterson for his team last year. He was outraged, like most people, at the stories being reported about Peterson’s overly aggressive physical punishments–even abuse–of his children. He faced a dilemma: should he still start Peterson? Should he hold onto Peterson in case he came back that year? This was not special to my friend or Peterson. In discussing the Peterson case with my friend, I realized I had the Carolina defense which starred, at the time, Greg Hardy who was accused of domestic violence. I faced the same dilemma, should I start that defense?

This is an interesting question for fandom in general. When the players we root for get into trouble—legally or morally—how should we respond? Do we withdraw our support immediately and completely? Which offenses go too far? In terms of being a fan, rooting for the player does seem to impart some approval or at least sanction to the player. So the issue of fan support is somewhat clearer: if a player has done something that you can’t support or be a part of as a fan, you should withdraw your support.

But, in regards to fantasy, how much does drafting and starting a player constitute sanctioning or condoning the athlete’s behavior? Should one refuse to draft any players from the Washington Redskins? What about a Michael Vick or a Ray Rice? I don’t have a clear idea of what the right answers are to these questions.

Too often, conversations about ethics are all negative. They focus too much on when people step over the line or violate norms. But ethics should also be about the positive, the aspirational, the ideals we shoot for as we attempt to live a flourishing and good life. So I want to close my comments by focusing on three positives of fantasy sport.

One, playing fantasy sports is a great way to build community: it’s a way of staying connected to old friends and making new ones. In one league, I stay connected to friends from grad school that I probably would have lost touch with a long time ago. Matthew Berry, best known as the Talented Mr. Roto, said in his book on fantasy:

“…the truth is it’s all about the people. It’s not the draft, it’s not the trash talk or the punishments, it’s not even the winning (okay, maybe it’s a little bit the winning). It’s the people. It’s the people who make the draft and the trash talk and the punishments and the winning what it is.”[3]

In an age when friends and family can live far apart from each other, fantasy is one way to build, maintain, and deepen that community and connection with our friends and family.

Another important value from fantasy is knowledge. Fantasy requires one to learn more about the real game. To do well at fantasy requires one have a good understanding of the game and the players. You can’t draft a left guard, but you better know if the QB you drafted has a good offensive line to protect him. Learning new skills and gaining knowledge is an important part of the good life and to the extent that fantasy does this, it too is part of the good life.

Lastly, playing fantasy is fun! That’s no small thing. Enjoyment and pleasure are, as Aristotle argued in the 4th century BCE, important parts of a flourishing life. So, other things being equal, an activity like fantasy that is fun and provides satisfaction and joy is something that should be praised as a good thing. I’ll end with a quote from Ayn Rand on the goodness of joy:

“Joy is an end in itself. My pattern of enjoyment is: I’m good, and if this thing has given me enjoyment, then it is good.”[4]

Thank You.

[1] Chad Carlson (2013): “The Reality of Fantasy Sports: A Metaphysical and Ethical Analysis,” Journal of the Philosophy of Sport

[2] Billings and Ruihley (2014) The Fantasy Sport Industry, p 108. [My review of this book]

[3] Matthew Berry. (2013). Fantasy Life: The Outrageous, Uplifting, and Heartbreaking World of Fantasy Sports from the Guy Who’s Lived It. [My review of this book]

[4] Ayn Rand. (1999). The Journals of Ayn Rand. P. 604.

1 Comment

Filed under Conferences, Fantasy

2015 Sports Law and Ethics Symposium

On Thursday, September 10th, I will be attending Santa Clara University’s Institute of Sports Law & Ethics 2015 Sports Law and Ethics Symposium. I am part of a panel on Fantasy Sports. I will be speaking about ethics and fantasy sports, namely looking at some ethical concerns raised by fantasy sports as well as some positives.

The whole day-long conference looks to be very interesting featuring academics, lawyers, and professionals on major topics in sports law and ethics. The schedule is posted at the ISLE website.

Leave a comment

Filed under Conferences, Fantasy