New York, NY (Thursday, April 14, 2016) – Former major-league pitcher Curt Schilling will provide a dramatic and moving personal account about the dangers associated with the use of spit or smokeless tobacco in a new public service ad produced jointly by Major League Baseball and the Professional Baseball Athletic Trainers Society (PBATS).
The 60-second public-service announcement will air on the MLB Network and on scoreboards throughout MLB. It will also be made available to regional sports networks and other stations throughout the nation.
Link to PSA: http://atmlb.com/1Q7MxN0
Schilling, a six-time All-Star and three-time World Champion who now serves as an analyst for ESPN, attributes his 2014 diagnosis of oral cancer to his long addiction to smokeless tobacco. He has undergone treatment for his cancer, which is presently in remission.
“I was warned many, many times over the 30 years I dipped,” Schilling said. “I never listened. Cancer changed that. I found out, through the worst pain you can imagine and hospitalization for two months, that there was no time during my addiction that was worth what I went through. Don’t ask yourself if you might get cancer when you dip, just get a calendar out and wait.”
The PSA is based upon a 2015 article by Schilling, which appeared in The Players Tribune entitled, “A Letter to My Younger Self.” In the letter – and in the PSA – Schilling makes it clear that, because of his poor choice to begin tobacco use at 16 years old, he may have shortened his life and robbed himself, and those he loves, of some of life’s special moments.
“Curt’s PSA is among the bravest and most candid statements any person can ever make.” PBATS President Mark O’Neal said. “By taking responsibility for his actions and acknowledging that his tobacco use may end his life prematurely, Curt has decided to do what he always did as a player which was to give the American people and baseball fans everything he had. His story about the cancer caused by his tobacco addiction is a lesson that has the potential to save many lives from the horror of the disease he and his family have faced.”
MLB and PBATS partnered to undertake this effort with Schilling in 2015 for both the fans of the game and its players. For over 20 years, MLB and PBATS have worked to remove tobacco from the face of baseball.
“While some people may think that tobacco is a tradition of the game,” said Neil Romano, PBATS senior advisor and Co-Founder of The National Spit Tobacco Education Program, “the late Joe Garagiola would frequently say, ‘Cancer is cancer and not a tradition baseball wants to be part of.’”
Said Jonathan D. Coyles, MLB’s Vice President, Drug, Health & Safety Program: “Major League Baseball has worked on multiple fronts to eliminate smokeless tobacco from our game, and education and awareness are both components of accomplishing this goal. This PSA is a powerful way of warning children on the dangers associated with smokeless tobacco, and we hope that it will promote cessation for current users.”
For Curt Schilling
(subject to availability)
Leighton Communications, Inc.
For All Others
Rick Cerrone Communications, Inc.