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100 Maryland Ave NE Washington, DC 20002 May 30, 2011 Michael Weiner, Executive Director Major League Baseball Players Association 12 East 49th Street, 24th Floor New York, NY 10017

Dear Mr. Weiner: We are writing to you today on behalf of Faith United Against Tobacco ­ a coalition of national faith organizations ­ to urge that the Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA) agree to a ban on all tobacco use on the field and in the dugout. Kids today ­ primarily boys ­emulate baseball players in the same fashion that today's players looked up to those who were playing ball just a decade ago. Washington Nationals pitching ace Stephen Strasburg, for example, has said his own tobacco use started as a way to imitate big leaguers. More proof that from one generation to the next, smokeless tobacco use continues to plague those who play baseball and those who dream of one day joining them. In our calling as faith leaders, we see the impact that tobacco use has on families and communities. This is a product that maims and kills those who use it. Look no further than Sean Marsee, a top high school track star in Oklahoma, who became addicted to smokeless tobacco at age 12 and was dead at 19 after a terrible year of surgeries that took his tongue, jaw and much of his neck muscle. Sean argued with his mother, a nurse, for years that all of these sports stars used the product and that if they were fine, he would be too. Just months before he died, Sean was honored as his school's most outstanding athlete. Sean's story is not an isolated tragedy. More and more teenage boys are using smokeless tobacco according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Since 2003, there has been an alarming 36 percent increase in the use of smokeless tobacco by high school boys ­ proof positive that as smoking becomes less "cool," boys are turning to smokeless tobacco.

Many of us signing this letter grew up in a world where tobacco was king. Tobacco ads were on television, on billboards and in most magazines. Smoking was allowed in the workplace, on airplanes and even in hospitals. While we as a nation have come a long way, Major League Baseball appears to be stuck in the past.

100 Maryland Ave NE Washington, DC 20002

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 airline industry. 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. We implore you to join Commissioner Selig in supporting a ban on smokeless tobacco that mirrors the ban in the Minor Leagues. What players do on their own time is their business, but what they do when they are in uniform and on camera is all of ours, especially considering what's at stake. Sincerely,

James Winkler Chair, Faith United Against Tobacco General Secretary, General Board of Church and Society United Methodist Church

Barbara Baylor,MPH Program Minister for Health Care Justice United Church of Christ

Jordan Blevins Advocacy Officer Church of the Brethren

Galen Carey Director of Government Affairs National Association of Evangelicals

Lawrence Couch National Advocacy Center Sisters of the Good Shepherd

Michael H. Crosby, OFMCap. Tobacco Program Coordinator Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility

100 Maryland Ave NE Washington, DC 20002

Jacquelyn Dupont-Walker Director Social Action Commission African Methodist Episcopal Church

Kaye Edwards Director of Family and Children's Ministries Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)

Matthew Ellis Executive Director National Episcopal Health Ministries

Marlene Feagan President Health Ministries Association

Gilbert Hanke General Secretary United Methodist Men

Rev. Michael Kinnamon General Secretary National Council of Churches in Christ

Dr. Richard Land President Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission Southern Baptist Convention

Rev. A. Roy Medley General Secretary American Baptist Churches USA

Rev. Dr. J. Herbert Nelson, II Director of Public Witness Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)

Deborah Patterson Executive Director International Parish Nurse Resource Center

Dr. Walter L. Parrish, II Executive Director American Baptist Churches of the South

Katia Reinert Director Health Ministries, North American Division Seventh-day Adventist Church

100 Maryland Ave NE Washington, DC 20002

Djamillah Samad National Executive Church Women United, Inc.

Rabbi David Saperstein Director Union for Reform Judaism

Dr. Tarunjit Singh Secretary General World Sikh Council ­ American Region

Dr. Sayyid Syeed General Secretary Islamic Society of North America

Julie Taylor Children, Youth and Family Advocacy United Methodist Women

Rita K. Wert President National Woman's Christian Temperance Union

Rabbi Shawn Zevit Director of Congregational Services, Outreach and Tikkun Olam Jewish Reconstructionist Federation Cleveland Office


Microsoft Word - FUAT to MLBPA 053011.docx

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