Some of the biggest name in religious politics – among 25 faith groups around the country — are calling on Major League baseball players to agree to Commissioner Bud Selig’s proposal to ban all smokeless tobacco products at games.
Selig pitched the the on opening day. The ban is currently enforced in the minor leagues.
Click here to read the letter to Michael Weiner, executive director of the Major League Baseball Players Association. In part:
Change isn’t easy. It wasn’t easy to restrict tobacco advertisements or to ban smoking on airplanes. At the time, critics predicted that magazines would go out of business and the demise of the airlineindustry. Of course, those statements were misguided.
So is the statement by your association that smokeless tobacco use should be allowed because it is a legal product used by adults. By that logic, players should be able to freely drink and smoke on the field. Use of these legal substances was banned for the same reason we ask that smokeless tobacco be banned… the health of the players and the example it sets for youth.
Among those who signed the letter are Dr. Richard Land, president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention and a longtime leader among evangelical Christians, and James E. Winkler, general secretary of the United Methodist General Board of Church and Society.
The leaders noted that smokeless tobacco use among high school boys has climbed 36 percent since 2003, and said big league ballplayers have a responsibility to be better role models for young fans.
“When the cameras are rolling and they zoom in on a player, the last thing we want our kids to see is a big wad of chewing tobacco in his cheek or under his lip, as if he’s an advertising spokesman for deadly tobacco. The players must recognize that they are harming their own health and jeopardizing our children’s futures by continuing to make it look as though smokeless tobacco is integral to the major league mystique.”
- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider