If four US senators have their way major league baseball players from the St. Louis Cardinals and Texas Rangers will not be using chewing tobacco during the World Series.
Health officials from St. Louis, Arlington, Texas and Illinois each submitted separate letters to Major Leagues players union in the hopes of banning the practice.
The letter to players union head Michel Weiner was written by Democrats Dick Durbin (Illinois), Frank Lautenberg (New Jersey), Richard Blumenthal (Connecticut) and Tom Harkin (Iowa). The letter states:
“When players use smokeless tobacco, they endanger not only their own health, but also the health of millions of children who follow their example.”
The letter goes on to talk about the impact the practice has on millions of children who watch the series:
“Unfortunately, as these young fans root for their favorite team and players, they also will watch their on-field heroes use smokeless tobacco products,” they wrote.
With a collective bargaining agreement on the table the senators all hope the ban on chewing tobacco can be added to the next players contract to avoid the practice MLB role models engage in.
In March 2011 league commissioner Bud Selig agreed to the ban but noted that the players union would also have to step up to the plate and pass the rule. In June the union said they would make a “sincere effort” to get players on-board.
In the meantime players seem to be split on the issue with some agreeing that the influence they have over young fans should be taken into consideration while others see it as an infringement on their personal rights.
Do you believe a ban on chewing tobacco should be instituted for major league baseball players?