In 2018, the televised ‘one-punch’ incident in the Australian Football League (AFL) raised concerns about the wider societal impact of violence in sport. Professional AFL player, Andrew Gaff was caught on camera punching an opposing player in the head. The ensuing debate highlighted the role of actors in investigating, prosecuting and penalising unlawful acts of violence in sport. The article examines this regulatory framework; where traditional attitudes about the social desirability of sport and acceptance of harm support an autonomous self-regulatory approach, often insulated from the full application of the criminal law. This article explores whether the current framework meets community expectations and wider societal concerns. With a renewed focus on player safety and wellbeing as priorities in contemporary sport, this article is a timely review of a recurring theme in the literature: the point at which force in sport becomes a criminal matter beyond the remit of private regulation.