Originally Posted by Saucemaster
I think pretty much every one of us knows from extensive personal experience that this is... well, wrong. It takes absolutely no character, discipline, or strength to haul off and smack someone who's insulting you. Ask any five year old.
This is definitely right as a general rule. I think the disagreement is basically whether there are any times where it is reasonable to react to a verbal provocation by beating up a person physically. To me, the answer is yes. I have heard some horrible things said to me (based on race, physical characteristics, social strata, etc.) and most of the times, I don't react to it. But there are still a few times where I knew the answer, and the answer was to beat them up, and I regret those times where I did not react in a way I thought proper. And it's not because it was the harder thing to do, or because I was noble, it was because I was afraid of the consequences, whether it be me getting beat up or putting others in an awkward situation. But in short, I was afraid.
Now, I'm not saying that Zidane's situation was one of those qualified situations. My guess is it probably isn't. But are there situations where I'd understand a guy headbutting another guy in the sternum during a world cup final? To me, that answer is yes.
As a reference point, I also believe in vengeance (on very important things; little things should be let go of), death penalty (only in theory, not in practice), and spanking your child when necessary. I'm not saying these things should be done casually, but I do believe that there are proper occasions for these things.