Play the ball not the man

Posted by Bruce Kahl on August 09, 2001

In Reply to: Phrase/idiom meanings, derivations/origins posted by Natalie Sher on August 08, 2001

"Play the ball not the man"

We can be bold enough to make a stand and do battle for our views and beliefs. But we must strive to be mature enough not to resort to unnecessary personal attacks upon people with opposing views.
The "ball" is our personal view and the "man" is someone with the opposing view.
Your phrase really is from the world of soccer.