1st Edition

Why It's OK to Be a Sports Fan

By Alfred Archer, Jake Wojtowicz Copyright 2023
    212 Pages
    by Routledge

    212 Pages
    by Routledge

    This book offers readers a pitch-side view of the ethics of fandom. Its accessible six chapters are aimed both at true sports fans whose conscience may be occasionally piqued by their pastime, and at those who are more certain of the moral hazards involved in following a team or sport.

    Why It’s OK to Be a Sports Fan wrestles with a range of arguments against fandom and counters with its own arguments on why being a fan is very often a good thing. It looks at the ethical issues fans face, from the violent or racist behavior of those in the stands, to players’ infamous misdeeds, to owners debasing their own clubs. In response to these moral risks, the book argues that by being critical fans, followers of a team or individual can reap the benefits of fandom while avoiding many of the ethical pitfalls. The authors show the value in deeply loving a team but also how a condition of this value is recognizing that the love of a fan comes with real limits and responsibilities.

    Key Features

    • Provides an accessible introduction to a key area of the philosophy of sport
    • Closely looks at some of the salient ethical concerns around sports fandom
    • Proposes that the value of community in partisan fandom should not be underestimated as a key feature of the good life
    • Examines how the same emotions and environments that can lead to violence are identical to those that lead to virtuous loyalty
    • Argues for a fan’s responsibility in calling out violence or racist behavior from their fellow fans


    1. Fandom: what’s love got to do with it?

    2. Why being a fan isn’t a waste of time

    3. Why being a partisan is okay

    4. Why partisan fandom isn’t just war minus the shooting

    5. Why it sometimes isn’t OK to be a fan - part I: other fans

    6. Why it sometimes isn’t OK to be a fan – part II: players, clubs, owners, and sports

    Conclusion: Corruption, love, and loss.


    Alfred Archer is Associate Professor of Philosophy at Tilburg University in the Netherlands. He is the author (with Benjamin Matheson) of Honouring and Admiring the Immoral: An Ethical Guide (2021) and the co-editor of Emotions in Sport and Games (2021), Self-Sacrifice and Moral Philosophy (2020), and The Moral Psychology of Admiration (2019).

    Jake Wojtowicz received his PhD on ethics and the philosophy of law from King’s College London in 2019. He lives with his wife Hannah and their pets, Archie and Genny, in Rochester, NY and is adjusting to life as a Buffalo Bills fan.