play the ball and not the man

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To attack the ball instead of an opponent who is usually controlling the ball. Often considered a positive action, and sometimes a requirement not to concede a penalty.
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Submitted on January 20, 2019

Additional definitions for 'play the ball and not the man':

play the ball and not the manTo object to someone's argument by attacking the argument itself instead of them or a facet of their personality; to avoid or make the opposite of an ad hominem attack. Usually considered a positive action, and an avoidance of a fallacious argumentative technique. Often used in comparison to play the man and not the ball.
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"play the ball and not the man." Phrases.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2019. Web. 18 Nov. 2019. <https://www.phrases.com/phrase/play-the-ball-and-not-the-man_42877>.

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