JusticeJuly 6, 2010
It was a joy to watch Uruguay get their asses handed back to them today. Go Orange! I just want to say one more thing about the no-hands rule being constitutive of soccer.
I do think that the operative issue here is that no-hands is constitutive of soccer — meaning that it’s not a simple regulative rule against slide tackling, but instead specifies what soccer is — but I think a case can be made along non-constitutive lines as well.
There is no clear rule against bringing a jet engine onto the field, for instance. It is conceivable, though, that there might be one. Suppose that for odd historical reasons, there are restrictions on any non-codified arbitrary intervention by any player, not just hands — rogue tubas, naked old people, hordes of vampire bats, robots — and suppose also that the penalties for intervening in this way on the field are the same. Red card. Penalty kick.
So if a player brings an army of self-propelled robots on the field to disrupt play, this results in a red card and a penalty kick.
If Saurez had positioned the jet engine just right, and then flipped it on so as to blow the Ghana’s ball out of the goal, thus resulting in his expulsion from the game and also forcing Ghana to take a penalty kick, would this count as cheating?
I think it would.
Or what if Suarez had very quickly slid a giant sheet of plexiglass between the goal and the ball… would that be cheating? I think it also would; and I think a penalty kick would be the wrong penalty for an intervention of this sort.
Now consider something more plausible: what if he had caught the ball instead of batting it away? Seems to me that our intuitions might be stronger that the goal should be given to Uruguay.
It’s over now, of course. But it’s been a fun little discussion.