Ban smokeless tobacco in the Big Leagues, say religious leaders

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.

Writes Land:

“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

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27 comments Add your comment

Last Man Standing

May 31st, 2011
4:12 pm

Slow day, Jim?


May 31st, 2011
4:22 pm

Ugh, playing the “it’s for the chilllllldren” card. Charles Barkley said it best : “Just because I dunk a basketball doesn’t mean I should raise your kids.” Maybe you shouldn’t teach your child to admire overpaid prima donnas. Start by not spending your entire weekend watching them, talking about them, and generally shoving your nose in their jocks.

And looking through the signatures, I notice the National Association of Evangelicals has a Director of Government Affairs. Why are these churches tax-exempt?


May 31st, 2011
4:33 pm

If I pray hard enough, I won’t get cancer of the mouth.


May 31st, 2011
4:34 pm

MLB already bans some over the counter drugs and yes I know they call them enhancement drugs but the fact is they are legal. If they want to ban Smokeless tobacco they can if they want to.

The Goobernator

May 31st, 2011
4:51 pm

HMMM, but they are silent on CHEATING with steroid use, i.e.defiling the god given body with artificial muscle builders and rage enhancers.


May 31st, 2011
4:57 pm

Yeah, don’t do dip, kids. Just do steroids. Look at what it’s done for Albert Pujols. MLB.

Jay Peterman

May 31st, 2011
5:01 pm

The nanny state mentality strikes again. Please tell us all how to live oh exhalted nanny state.

Jay Peterman

May 31st, 2011
5:02 pm

Here’s a thought, why not let everyone decide for themselves whether they want to chew, or not chew.


May 31st, 2011
5:03 pm


I love Charles Barkley, and I totally agree!


May 31st, 2011
5:07 pm

they need to be banning usury that big business keeps escalating and politicians extract for campaigns

[...] League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig and the players, saying the time has come to ban …Ban smokeless tobacco in the Big Leagues, say religious leadersAtlanta Journal Constitution (blog)all 3 news [...]


May 31st, 2011
7:24 pm

Whats next from our esteemed “religious leaders?”

Banning cell phones?


May 31st, 2011
9:30 pm

Might as well ban scratching, too.


May 31st, 2011
9:39 pm

from what I’m seeing on news banning cell phones could be good idea.Accident and sickness.


May 31st, 2011
10:04 pm

you can pry my gun, er scratch that, you can pry my skoal from my cold dead hands…

Why it's a Ruger, thank you

May 31st, 2011
10:07 pm

Chewing and dipping are only dangerous if you swallow!! So don’t swallow, LOL

Why it's a Ruger, thank you

May 31st, 2011
10:10 pm

Oh, and make sure the kids are in by 10, too. My gawd, what’s next??

Gen Neyland

May 31st, 2011
10:34 pm

Redickalas. Where do stupid enforcements end and common sense reappear..? Banning bubblegum is next.


May 31st, 2011
10:46 pm

I am in agreement with Aquagirl. Maybe the world really is going to end in a few months. :)


May 31st, 2011
10:59 pm

I paid $32.67 for a XBOX 360 and my mom got a 17 inch Toshiba laptop for $94.83 being delivered to our house tomorrow by FedEX. I will never again pay expensive retail prices at stores. I even sold a 46 inch HDTV to my boss for $650 and it only cost me $52.78 to get. Here is the website we using to get all this stuff,


May 31st, 2011
11:06 pm

I suggest these “do-gooders” should work to get their own houses in order before trying to meddle in ours. With all the recently revealed acts of pedophilia by priests and ministers, I think their focus on how to “save the children” is a bit misdirected. Very few of these men of the cloth were actually prosecuted, however, because their churches paid off the victims (with tax-free money, of course). Ball players chewed tobacco when I was a kid. I even had bubble gum cards showing players with a big chaw puffing out their cheeks. I’ve never smoked or chewed, and if I had as a teen, my mom would have killed me! Therein lies the difference between then and now. Stop blaming ball players, TV shows, movies, video games, advertisements, etc. for kids’ bad habits, and place the blame (and your “correctional” attitudes) where it belongs – on the overly-permissive and/or uncaring parents who do not teach their kids that doing wrong has consequences.


May 31st, 2011
11:33 pm

Praying on a regular basis will reduce your chances of developing prostate cancer.

No. Wait. That’s masturbation.

I always get those two activities confused.


June 1st, 2011
12:32 am

Yes, Yes, Yes, and while they’re at it, ban something that is even worse from even being sold to the fans. That would be the drug known as alcohol, which kills more people in more ways than tobacco could even think about doing. That would make going to the games enjoyable for families once again, and stop all the rude, obnoxious, rowdy behavior.


June 1st, 2011
1:22 am

Ban all SEX in Porno Videos too.
F…K ALL you people.
These are Grown MEN if they want to Chew so be it.
I tell you what NO REARRANGING your JUNK during a game either in any sport. People at home might see it on TV.
God forbid your child might want to play with HIS JUNK too. Wait Lil Boys do that at soon as they find it.
CARS kill more people every year than Tobacco use. BAN CARS. No More Automobiles. They Kill people.
I thought WE were FREE in this country. I guess that is now the BIGGEST JOKE we don’t tell the rest of the world that wants to move here LEGALLY and immigrate.


June 1st, 2011
1:28 am

Maybe we should BAN most people from having KIDS and then we wouldn’t have to worry about offending your little BRATS at a game like they do me in a restaurant.


June 2nd, 2011
10:36 am

Wow. Obviously the “screw the nanny state” organizations sent this post out to all their crazies. I am not a religious person, but I am a baseball fan and it is frankly embarrassing when I see players with this garbage in their mouths. These ARE grown men WHO ARE AT WORK. What don’t you get about that? We all have a code of conduct in our workplace. The difference with these guys is that kids really do see them as heroes. I did when I was young. I wanted to be them. I remember as an early teen putting a round tin of mints in my back pocket of my jeans to get the impression of the can.

This isn’t nanny state. Nanny state implies the government is telling these players what to do. THAT IS NOT HAPPENING HERE. This is not trying to control the personal lives of these players! The faith leaders letter (which I doubt any of you actually took the time to read) is specific to MLB banning “tobacco use on the field and in the dugout.” Why does this not make sense to you?

Kids watch them and emulate them. They could care less where they go for dinner or who they are dating. They emulate their stance, their swing and their image in uniform. And while they are in uniform they should NOT be using a product that has caused a whole lot of cancer and death.

Did someone actually write that it only hurts you if you swallow. Seriously!?!? And we wonder why America gets dumber as the days go by.