Let’s make something perfectly clear. ATHLETES ARE NOT ROLE MODELS.
Say it with me, now. Athletes. Are. Not. Role. Models.
Good – that’s a start.
So why are four U.S. senators and health officials from Arlington and St. Louis writing the Major League Baseball player’s union, urging them to agree to ban on chewing tobacco at World Series games? Who the hell knows…
They say it’s because they’re looking to, “protect the health of players and be a great gift to your young fans.” They’re more than likely just looking for a line to use in a future campaign brochure – but let’s not argue reasoning. Let’s stick with facts.
Raise your hand if you’d like a member of your favorite team to stop using chew during the most important series of their lives.
Bueller? Bueller? Thought so.
Dads of the kids that are rooting for these players – they’re not shouting at the top of the mountain for a change like this. Why? They and their kids would get far more joy watching that chewing, tobacco spitting ballplayer standing in the batter’s box totally calm within a chaotic environment.
Imagine this for a moment: You’re standing 60 feet away from a guy hurling a rock hard spheroid 95 mph in front of 50,000 people. The decibel level rivals an F16 screaming off a runway, your team is down two runs, and you’re at the dish with men on first and third in Game 7.
Option A – You can let the adrenaline trample through your body unimpeded, causing you to shake ever so slightly and have to devote even the smallest segment of your mind to calming the nerves.
Option B – You can utilize a substance that is 100% legal in the United States to combat the adrenaline by releasing that oh-so-wonderful serotonin into your bloodstream – allowing you to completely focus on the task at hand – turning a potentially lethal object into one that simply kills the dream of your opponent slipping that championship ring onto their own finger.
Don’t get all righteous on me. You’re taking B.
And if they would allow NBA players to spit the chew out before running back down the court, Shaq would have dipped twice before every free throw he attempted. But he sweated so much standing at the charity stripe that he probably viewed it as a way to keep the weight off during the regular season.
Also, when did Congress get into the business of infringing the rights of a particular segment of our society? If you’re going to write a letter asking baseball players to refrain from it, why don’t you just stand up and tell everyone that you support the elimination of smokeless tobacco altogether?
Oh yeah – they would be making a statement that would upset some voters. Can’t have that before primary season, can we now?
“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 senators wrote to player’s union head Michael Weiner.
That’s funny. I’m pretty sure the first person to light a victory cigar if millions of kids watched the World Series would be Bud Selig himself. The ratings for the World Series have been steadily declining since 1980, finally bottoming out in 2008 when the Series posted a lowly 8.7. Less viewers than a Sunday night football game in Week 6.
Senators, if you want to make an impact on America’s youth, turn to the sport that scores nationally lauded ratings for five months out of the year. Why don’t you ask NFL players to stop swearing?
Oh, damn. That’s right. That whole ‘freedom of speech’ thing rains on that parade, doesn’t it?
Why don’t we call upon parents to be the role models for their kids? Remind them that they have the most power when it comes to influencing the behavior of their children.
Let the superstars entertain. That’s all we pay them to do.
Tell ‘em, Chuck.