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Paternity leave and Neanderthals

April 4, 2014 - Jodelle Greiner
I was watching “CBS This Morning” and one of the stories centered on New York Mets baseball player Daniel Murphy, who took a three-day leave to be with his wife and newborn son. The reason this is a big deal is because a trio of sports talk radio hosts, Mike Francesa, Boomer Esiason, and Craig Carlton criticized Murphy for missing two games.

"You're a major league baseball player. You can hire a nurse,' Mike Francesa reportedly said of Murphy on WFAN Radio during Wednesday's show, according to espn.com. "What are you gonna do, sit there and look at your wife in the hospital bed for two days?"

Umm, maybe the guy wants to meet his new baby, hold him, count the fingers and toes and just be relieved the little guy came through delivery alright. Plus, Murphy’s wife had a Caesarean section delivery. Translation for you guys: that’s major surgery where doctors cut the woman’s belly open through muscles and uterus and everything else so they can get the baby out. So, yes, Mr. Francesa, Murphy probably DID sit by his wife’s bedside and watch her sleep, grateful that she came through it.

“Assuming the birth went well, the wife is fine, the baby is fine, 24 hours and then you get your ass back to your team and you play baseball,” Carlton said.

“CBS This Morning” aired an interview with Murphy where he mentioned the surgery and that his wife wanted her husband there. You bet she did! She’s exhausted from delivery, she’s in an incredible amount of pain and will be for several weeks, OF COURSE she wants her husband there for support. Kudos to Murphy for recognizing that fact. I sincerely doubt whether Carlton has ever had abdominal surgery. Maybe he should try telling his wife (if he’s got one), “Well, love, they’ve knotted the last stitch, so I’ll be heading to the plane now, since my team needs me so much.” The team has substitute players for a reason; Murphy is the only husband his wife has.

Espn.com also reported Boomer Esiason said, in part, that Murphy's wife should have had a "C-section before the season starts."

I am speechless. Really, Boomer? Never mind if the baby is ready to be born and survive on his own outside mom, let’s schedule this birth for the convenience of Major League Baseball!

The wonderful thing is the Mets have come out in support of their player.

The collective bargaining agreement between MLB and the players' association in 2011 allows for up to a three-day absence after being placed on paternity leave, according to espn.com. So Murphy was totally within his rights to take the time off, a fact supported by Mets General Manager Sandy Alderson.

“The paternity-leave policy was introduced not just for the players’ benefit, but recognition by clubs in contemporary times that this is an appropriate time for parents to be together,” Alderson said, according to nydailynews.com. “So I’ve got absolutely no problem whatsoever with Murph being away. I think the delivery was a little earlier than expected, but those things you don’t control. I’m happy he was able to be with his wife and the fact that he’ll be back tomorrow and only really missed two games is a positive for us."

Plus, his manager Terry Collins had some sharp words for the critics.

"If you're accusing Dan Murphy of not wanting to play — this guy played 161 games last year, wore himself out, played through all sorts of discomfort," he said, according to usatoday.com. "You know, the man had his first child. He's allowed to be there. The rules state that he can be there, so he went. There's nothing against it. There's nothing wrong with it. You know, he missed two games. It's not like he's missed 10. You know, when you start attacking Dan Murphy's credibility, you need to look in the mirror a little bit."

So, if his bosses don’t have a problem with him missing some work, why should some talking heads?

Maybe back in the Stone Age when these guys were playing, things were done differently and guys only got 24 hours to visit wife and child. Well if that’s your attitude, football players should still be wearing leather helmets and hockey players should be helmetless and visorless, because God knows if it was good enough for the old farts, it’s good enough for the young pups, too. Times have changed, and as “CBS This Morning” anchor Gayle King reminded the trio, this is 2014.

Personally, I think we should clone Daniel Murphy, we need more like him. And we should knock Francesa, Esiason and Carlton over the head with a club for being Neanderthals.

 
 

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