New York Mets player Daniel Murphy missed the first two games of the season after birth of his first child. Murphy’s wife was in Florida and happened to go into labor during opening day. He flew to her side to be present for the birth.
Murphy’s three-day paternity leave is quite standard for Major League Baseball players; Federal law allows fathers to take up to two weeks off work.
Not news, right?
If only it were that simple…
Many sports commentators are criticizing Murphy for his choice to take off more than 24 hours.
Mike Francesa is a popular sports personality for New York radio. He was quite surprised when he learned that Murphy opted to take paternity leave:
“I don’t get it… I don’t know where it started to be honest with you… I’m going to guess that it started with natural childbirth… because it started being in the old days- guys weren’t present. They were, you know, in the waiting room when they had births. Then they went to this natural childbirth stuff, so the guys were part of it. So they were in the room and they were there and everything because they were part of it. And then everybody wanted to be there, which I understand.”
“I don’t know why you need three days off, I’m going to be honest. You see the birth and you get back. What do you do in the first couple days? Maybe you take care of the other kids. Well, you gotta have someone to do that if you’re a Major League Baseball player. I’m sorry, but you do … Your wife doesn’t need your help the first couple days, you know that.”
“One day, I understand. Go see the baby be born and come back. You’re a Major League Baseball player, you can hire a nurse to take care of the baby if your wife needs help … What are you gonna do? Are you gonna sit there and look at your wife in the hospital bed for two days?”
Then, former NFL quarterback and current radio host Boomer Esiason chimed in with fellow radio host Craig Carton about Murphy’s controversial paternity leave.
Carton used breastfeeding in his reasoning as to why Murphy should get back to work immediately:
“You get your ass back to your team and you play baseball … there’s nothing you can do, you’re not breastfeeding the kid.”
Esiason sounded as if he were defending Murphy at first. “He has legal rights to be there if he wants to be there.” He said. However, he was quick to defend his own misogynistic position.
“I would have said C-section before the season starts; I need to be at opening day. I’m sorry- this is what makes our money, this is how we are going to live our life, this is going to give my child every opportunity to be a success in life. I’ll be able to afford any college I want to send my child to because I’m a baseball player.”
Money and expensive institutionalized education. Wow, he certainly nailed down the important things in life.
As for Murphy? He told ESPN it was absolutely the right decision:
“I got a couple of text messages about it, so I’m not going to sit here and lie and say I didn’t hear about it,” Murphy said about the radio hosts comments. “But that’s the awesome part about being blessed, about being a parent, is you get that choice. My wife and I discussed it, and we felt the best thing for our family was for me to try to stay for an extra day — that being Wednesday — due to the fact that she can’t travel for two weeks.”
He then added:
“It’s going to be tough for her to get up to New York for a month. I can only speak from my experience — a father seeing his wife – she was completely finished. I mean, she was done. She had surgery and she was wiped. Having me there helped a lot, and vice versa, to take some of the load off. … It felt, for us, like the right decision to make.”
Way to go, Murphy!