Post by bra
Just to say that Carl Jung wrote seriously and on several occasions about games and sports. He concluded that human beings have an instinctive drive not only to "play" at sports but that this playing depends utterly on rules, and the maintenance of rules nurtures what it means to be a full human being. Someone who wilfully steps outside these rules has for that moment ceased to be a full human being.
All discussion around sports and games centres on ethics: has a player acted under what all players and spectators hold to be "the rules". But the discussions go further because obeying the rules is not enough: has the competitor behaved in a way that the world recognizes as "proper, sporting, fair"? We have all seen victories that felt sour to us because they were won or celebrated in a disrespectful manner. Football players get red-carded after a confirmed goal which they scored absolutely correctly and safely, because the manner of their celebration was considered wrong, even if it was not offensive or obscene.
Baseball could consist of hitting the ball in whatever way, and with whatever bat will beat the opposition. A motor race could consist of driving in whatever way and with whatever vehicle will win the race. But they don't. Why do we care? Jung tells us why.
Britons may feel complimented that Jung particularly admired British culture (writing in the 1940s) because of its devotion to rules in games and sports and deep sense of 'sporting' principles.
Arguments about a sporting endeavour are, in the end, ethical arguments. Somebody other than Jung took it further (I forget who), opining that
all serious arguments are, at base, religious arguments.
Did Jung include the infamous "bodyline" series in his thinking. In that series, England, led by Douglas Jardine, played entirely within the letter of the rules but in a way that many thought was unsporting. In those pre-TV days the grandees of English cricket may not have appreciated exactly what was being dished out, and didn't like it when they saw it being dished out in England (Jardine took his own medicine without complaint).
A little later Jardine took a team to India. In those days the marquee match was against the Viceroy's XI, and visiting captains were expected to remember whose team they were playing against.
Jardine would have none of it, protesting to the umpires about a minor rule violation to do with the rolling of the pitch between innings. (some have suggested that the real problem was that Jardine had been to Winchester and Cambridge, whereas the Viceroy was Eton and Oxford).
So, for a while, you'd have a hard time convincing Australians that the British had a superior sporting ethic.
Though, of course, Australia later got themselves a reputation for unsporting behaviour when they decided to verbally abuse the opposition to try to provoke what they called "mental disintegration".
So what's ethical and what isn't varies with territory. South African player Brian MacMillan observed that when you swore at the Aussies they thought you were a good bloke and bought you a beer after the game, but 0the English would get offended and refuse to speak to you. (Swearing at the opposition WASN'T against the rules, though subsequently a code of conduct has been introduced which rules out sledging that gets racist or overt displays of aggression).
So, for me, it's the letter of the law that must rule. Which, it seems to me, is the way it's been in F1 for some time now. When Gordon Murray built that Brabham with the fancy suspension system he must have known that it wasn't what FIA wanted and allowed his car to beat the ride height regulations, but he also knew that it would pass any test that the regulations allowed.
Relying on some subjective interpretation of fair play just leads to one side saying that the others aren't playing fair (or to both sides making the same accusation). The rules need to get refined as competitors find new ways of getting around them or as things that the rule makers never envisaged enter the sport.