Curt Schilling Reveals the Cause of His Cancer

The former Red Sox pitcher says that he is in remission from squamous cell carcinoma, cancer of the mouth.

Curt and shonda schilling. Photo by Debbie Wong/Shutterstock

Curt and shonda schilling. Photo by Debbie Wong/Shutterstock

Curt Schilling, the former Red Sox ace who won two World Series with the team in 2004 and 2007 (and another with the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2001), revealed on Wednesday morning to local sports radio station WEEI what he believes caused his cancer: chewing tobacco.

“I do believe without a doubt, unquestionably, that chewing is what gave me cancer,” Schilling said on the radio program, which is airing its annual Jimmy Fund fundraising broadcast. “It’s a dangerously addictive habit that I wish I had never done.” Schilling said he used chewing tobacco for 30 years.

Schilling added that he’s in remission and lost 75 pounds during his illness. This is the first time that Schilling has gone into specifics. He revealed that he had cancer last year, but not what kind. In June, he tweeted that he was in remission:

On the program, Schilling’s doctor, Robert Haddad of Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, said that Schilling’s prognosis looks good.

Chewing tobacco and ballplayers have gone hand-in-hand for a century. CBSSports.com reports that MLB is taking steps to remove dip from the game, but it is still a ways off. “Players and personnel are no longer allowed to carry a can or package of chewing tobacco in their uniform while on the field, nor are they allowed to have a wad of chewing tobacco under their lip while signing autographs and conducting interviews,” the report says.

But is that enough? No chance. Keith Olbermann recently created a hilarious spoof of a press conference where he’s named MLB’s new commissioner. Love him or hate him, Olbermann made some fantastic points at the “press conference” including banning chewing tobacco from the game entirely. Think about it: There’s a federal ban on advertising cigarettes on television, yet ballplayers can be sitting on the bench or even waiting to bat in the on-deck circle with a huge wad of dip in their mouths. Who’s watching these games? Kids on their way to Little League.

Watch the hilarious spoof below:

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