Tony Gwynn’s family needs to stop blaming tobacco industry for his death

Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn was, by all accounts, a good guy. Baseball writers liked him.We all liked him because he was a ferocious hitter, maybe the best of his generation, yet rocked a dad bod. And did so with a smile. MORE: Should fans worry about these struggling aces?So when Gwynn died and especially considering how he died, after a battle with salivary gland cancer that took his smile for a while and his ability to walk and eventually his life at 54, we wanted to find somebody anybody to blame. And there sat the smokeless tobacco clowns, easy and obvious and guilt-free targets. Who can possibly defend peddlers of carcinogens?This had to be what Gwynn’s family thought when filing a wrongful death lawsuit Monday against tobacco companies because, as a lawyer explained, “the family understands how he was targeted, they understand that the industry knew they had this highly carcinogenic product and they were marketing it to people like Tony.” Only this logic is wrong headed and lawyerly and ultimately speaks to this PC, liberal worldview we have created where every tragedy has to have a corporate villain. And ultimately a price tag.This is what passes for adulting nowadays, looking for blame everywhere but ourselves.When a fat guy keeps going back to the Golden Arches and biggee sizing, a lawsuit follows because, of course, willpower is beyond his control.Or when a crazed gunman does the unspeakable, we call for guns to be banned and file lawsuits against gun manufacturers because personal responsibility is dead.Or we sue the smokeless tobacco industry after the loss of Gwynn.MORE: Jackie Bradley inspiring slow starters | Harvey 'not a quitter'We want somebody to blame because we do not want to have to sit with the reality that bad things happen to good pe

ople, or even worse that good people unfortunately do bad things to themselves sometimes. They overeat. They cheat. They smoke. They drink. They do drugs. They die.But we can mourn with them without compensating them.Listen, tobacco is gross and deadly and dangerous. Everybody knows this because, for starters, tobacco has been legally forced to tell us this on packaging for most of my lifetime. And even without this, I knew. We all knew.And anybody still smoking or chewing or dipping or inhaling today, whether women for weight control or dudes because they are addicted, does so at their own risk.What next, suing drug lords because cocaine kills?Or maybe, the makers of Ephederine because idiots use it to cook meth?Or maybe, Google because my search of “what is needed to cook meth” yielded about 471,000 results in .51 seconds.This Gwynn lawsuit ultimately goes back to the larger issue; why we consistently refuse personal responsibility and continue chasing the windmill of corporate blame.Listen, corporations bleep up. A lot.And when they do, there must be justice.For a long time, the tobacco industry lied about the dangers of tobacco, as did the NFL about concussions. There is negligence and willful disregard and 457 grounds to sue.With tobacco and fat and football, however, there is no more ignorance disclaimer.We now know the risks, of debilitating and deadly concussions from football, of eating too much sugar, salt and fat and, yes, of tobacco and how often its use in any form leads to cancer.They are not hiding. This is what they peddle. These are the risks. We know. We choose.And the ugly truth is that McDonalds is not why your kid is fat and smokeless tobacco is not legally responsible for Gwynn’s death.You are.Gwynn is.I know this is not in line with current groupthink about how nobody is to blame for their own troubles and how society is responsible for creating safe spaces and safe bathrooms and safe tobacco.There is no such thing, of course.This is so obvious yet we refuse to acknowledge the truth.We are too caught up in not wanting to change, in wanting to be let off the hook, in mourning the sad thing that happened.The Gwynns’ grief is real. Their lawsuit is bullspit.

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