There have been images circling the web about Jason Dufner’s monster lip (term for chewing tobacco in mouth) during yesterdays opening round of The Masters.
While this may be a tad uncommon to see in golf, a sport in which etiquette is just important as the sport itself. It is very common to see in baseball. I know from watching the Detroit Tigers it is not uncommon to see Austin Jackson with a chew in at any portion of the game.
One question that is inevitably brought up by this is allowing chewing tobacco in sports? Congress has recently put pressure on the MLB to ban chewing tobacco during games. The Minor Leagues are already barred from using any tobacco products, but they were able to pull this off because the Minor leagues do not have a union. For this measure to pass in the MLB there would have to be some involvement by the MLB union.
While chewing tobacco is no doubt a harmful product, and it has been attributed to mouth cancer. At the end of the day I am of the opinion that what you do with your body is your business. Athletes are role models to an extent, but if my kid were ever to ask “What’s that in their mouth?” I would surely tell them that is a nasty thing that can lead to even nastier things down the road such as cancer.
And that’s how it should be, let these professionals enjoy tobacco if they choose to do so. It is not a performance enhancing product and really does more harm than anything else. But again that’s their choice.
The kids should be informed by their parents and other resources that these products are in fact harmful, and while their favorite athlete might do it, it doesn’t make it right. An example would be the drinking that was well documented in the Red Sox clubhouse last season. While it was never in public, plenty people heard about it and it is not naive to think children heard about it too. At that point it’s up to the parents to discuss with their kids that not everything an athlete does should be mimicked, professional athletes aren’t there to raise your children.
Is it a nasty habit? Yes. But it’s what makes this country great, enjoying a product as you like and not having to worry about what others say about. So to my fellow dipper athletes I say chew on my friends, but if you get cancer don’t go crying to me.
What do you think? Does tobacco use in sports glorify its use to children?