On Wednesday night, Major League Baseball and the players union reached a verbal agreement on a new collective bargaining agreement-- one that will cover the next five years.
One of the most interesting aspects of the new CBA is the decision to ban chewing tobacco. Here are the details, courtesy of Joel Sherman:
Heard 1 other interesting CBA detail: new MLB players will be banned from using smokeless tobacco, those already playing grandfathered in— Joel Sherman (@Joelsherman1) December 1, 2016
As Sherman notes, current players will be grandfathered in under the rule, so this will impact only those who debut from this point forward.
The decision to ban smokeless tobacco is going to incite debate about whether the league is overstepping its bounds. There's certainly a conversation to be had on that subject. Yet the inspiration for the rule seems obvious. We're nearing the two-and-a-half-year mark since San Diego Padres legend Tony Gwynn died due to salivary gland cancer. Gwynn's family filed a lawsuit earlier in the year against tobacco companies, fingering Gwynn's 31 years of dipping as the cause of the condition.
In the time since, we've seen numerous players give up chewing tobacco and the like in response to Gwynn's passing. Both sides presumably took that into account when hammering out this detail.