To object to someone's argument by attacking them or a facet of their personality instead of the argument itself; to make an ad hominem attack.
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""What we are seeing is an orchestrated campaign from the Labor Party to try to play the man and not the ball," he said... " this is the kind of personal attack that we are going to see from the Labor Party right up until polling day.""

Submitted on January 20, 2019

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

play the man and not the ballTo attack an opponent instead of attacking the ball, which is usually being controlled by the attacked player at the time.
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