Major League Baseball and the Professional Baseball Athletic Trainers Society (PBATS) have teamed up for a public service ad highlighting the dangers of using smokeless tobacco.
The 60-second ad, which will air on MLB Network and on scoreboards throughout MLB, is the personal account of former Major Leaguer Curt Schilling. Schilling was diagnosed with oral cancer in 2014, and he attributes his cancer, which is in remission after treatment, to his use of dipping.
"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."
Schilling, a six-time All-Star and a three-time World Series champion, penned an article in 2015 for The Players' Tribune entitled "A letter to my younger self" about his use of smokeless tobacco, which he began using at 16.
"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."
Said Jonathan D. Coyles, MLB's vice president of the drug, health and 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."
Cash Kruth is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @cashkruth. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.