abstract Using as a background the ongoing crisis afflicting the international cricket scene over whether or not to boycott Zimbabwe, this paper seeks to explore the moral complexities surrounding the case of the sporting boycott in general as a response to morally odious regimes. Rather than attempting to provide some easy formula by which to determine justifiable from unjustifiable boycotts, we take as our starting point many of the arguments raised in the national press and explore and develop these arguments in order to shed light on the fundamental problems underlying the use of sporting boycotts as moral tools. The paper thus aims to show the inadequacy of the standard responses on both sides of the fence and, hopefully, clears the ground for future, more informed approaches to the issue.