Four Democratic senators sent a letter to the Major League Baseball Players Association Tuesday, a day before the start of the World Series, urging the union to agree to ban the use of tobacco at major league games, The Hill
Sens. Dick Durbin of Illinois, Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey, Tom Harkin of Iowa, and Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut wrote the note. They are particularly targeting the use of chewing tobacco, which is common among players at major league games. MLB already prohibits smoking cigarettes in the presence of cameras during games.
The senators are concerned about the influence of the players’ behavior on children. "Unfortunately, as these young fans root for their favorite team and players, they also will watch their on-field heroes use smokeless tobacco products,” the Democrats wrote.
“During the upcoming negotiations over the bargaining agreement, we write to ask that the Major League Baseball Players Association agree to a prohibition on the use of all tobacco products at games and on camera at all Major League ballparks. This would send a strong message to young baseball fans, who look toward the players as role models, that tobacco use is not essential to the sport of baseball.”
The collective bargaining agreement between the player's union and owners ends in December. So there will be an opportunity to negotiate a tobacco ban then. Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig has offered support for the idea, but players oppose it.
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