One labor deal that did not have much national media attention was the MLB’s new collective bargaining agreement. There was no real concern with this deal or any sort of lockout like we have seen twice already in the past six months with the NFL and then the NBA. With the lack of public concern towards the MLB labor agreement, much of its content has gone unnoticed. One aspect of the agreement that I find to be ridiculous is that Congress, yes the United States Congress, wanted to completely ban the use of chewing tobacco for players. Congress’ reasoning for this was that they believed having chewing tobacco visible on television and at games was influencing kids to begin using it. Fortunately Congress did not get their way, however stricter limitations have been put in place such as players are no longer allowed to have a can of dip in their back pocket during the game. (Yea, its pretty stupid).
I have a problem with this for two reasons. And before I do so, I am just going to tell you that I do realize that chewing tobacco puts people at risk for cancer, but these are grown men making their own decisions.
First off, it is not a fact and there has been no study done to even try to prove that the use of chewing tobacco by professional baseball players influences kids watching baseball games. While you could possibly assume this, is there any way that you are 100% certain that this is why kids start dipping? Most kids that I know, including myself, began dipping while playing baseball. One of my teammates asked me if I wanted to try it and I did. It’s not like I was watching a game on tv and saw a player with a dip in or a tin in their pocket and thought to myself, “Wow, he is using chewing tobacco so I guess I have to do it since he’s my favorite player.” No I was actually able to make a decision based on my own thoughts, not too difficult. Also if you watch a lot of other sports, especially football or sometimes even during a hockey game, there are times where the camera is showing some players on the bench with huge dips in. I understand that the use of dip is much more prevalent in baseball, but shouldn’t every sport be held to the same standards on this issue, if it has to be an issue in the first place?
My second problem with this is that why is Congress worrying about this? There are countless other things going on in our country that are not only larger issues, but much more significant. If chewing tobacco is that big of an issue, what about cigarettes? They are so much more common in the country than chewing tobacco will ever be. Should Congress try to ban the public use of cigarettes or if a movie has someone smoking a cigarette in it, should it be rated “R”? This may seem a little extreme, but honestly Congress has much bigger fish to fry than cracking down on professional athletes ability to use a legal substance during their job. If you are a cigarette smoker, imagine not being able to step outside every once and awhile to smoke. Sometimes it is easy to forget that playing baseball is their profession. I just find this whole situation to be ridiculous and completely unnecessary.