Like most men, the New York Mets' Daniel Murphy dropped everything to be by his wife's side during the birth of their first child. Many understood and even praised the decision, even though it meant the second baseman missed opening day. But when Murphy announced he would take paternity leave — a total of three days — some people were less than thrilled.
Since his announcement, Murphy has been criticized by several high-profile sports radio announcers. Boomer Esiason, of Boomer and Carton, suggested that Murphy's wife should have, "had a C-section before the season starts." He went on to say that, assuming the wife and child are fine, a player should get back to his team and play ball. Mike Francesa of WFAN Sports Radio echoed Esiason's thoughts.
"I don't know why you need three days off, I'm going to be honest," Francesa said during his Tuesday morning show. "You see the birth and you get back . . . Your wife doesn't need your help the first couple days, you know that." Francesa added that this was not an issue "back in the day," but the concept of natural birth has changed a father's role in the delivery room.
"In the old days, guys weren't present. They were in the waiting room when they had birth," Francesa said. "Then they went to this natural child birth stuff, and the guy was part of it."
In 2011, Major League Baseball and the Players Association instituted the paternity leave list, an alternate lineup to be used when a player takes time off to be present during a child's birth. The list, however, only allows players to miss three games. Despite the policy, Francesa, Esiason, and others think the time is unnecessary.
"You're a major league baseball player," Francesa said. "You can hire a nurse!"
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