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MLB Paternity Leave Controversy

Major League Baseball Player Criticized For Taking Paternity Leave

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!"

What do you think? Should major league players take leave? Share your opinion in our poll and the comments section.

Image Source: Getty
Join The Conversation
Caroline29919 Caroline29919 3 years

That's fine for "regular" people with regular jobs, but a baseball player and his job are anything but regular. They're paid millions to perform on the schedule.

Caroline29919 Caroline29919 3 years

But he doesn't have an office job. That's the whole point. If he had an office job, he wouldn't be paid millions of dollars, etc..... You can't have your cake and eat it too.

If he were an actor in the middle of a movie and his wife had a baby, should everyone be expected to stop production and wait for this guy to "bond" with his baby for 3 days??? I look at it the same way.

Caroline29919 Caroline29919 3 years

If he were a regular guy with a regular job, I would 100% agree with you. I guess with him being a baseball player and getting extreme amounts of money to do his job and having a hugely different commitment level, that's where I have a problem with saying that he should get his 3 days paternity leave. To me, it looks like he's having his cake and eating it too.

One of the reasons athletes, entertainers, actors, etc make so much money is because of the commitment level, off hours, and seasonal work that they are doing. To commit to those circumstances and take the large paychecks seems hypocritical to me if they then turn around and ask for the benefits that we "regular" people get. To me, this is equivalent to if he asked for 4th of July off because it's a national holiday. No!

PamelaKowalski PamelaKowalski 3 years

I get what you're saying, but I still don't understand what is wrong with this man wanting to be with his newborn and his wife who just gave birth, a huge, important and emotional event in most people's lives. I'm sure most wives would want their husbands to be at the birth of their child, whenever possible. If this man were a brain surgeon, in the middle of a battle or stuck overseas for some reason, then I could understand, but he's a baseball player. To say your team comes before your wife and the birth of your child seems very wrong to me. And if I were the wife who just gave birth, I would certainly hope my husband could be there those first couple of days, and I feel bad for those who miss out due to unpreventable circumstances. However, a baseball game is not one of those circumstances. And to say it's just 3 days seems disingenuous. Of course those first days are important to the family. You keep saying it's about honoring your commitments to people and the team ... well the family team is the first commitment you honor above all others. Everyone should understand that and allow for people to honor those commitments first. I believe that is why they now grant paternity leave, as they should have all along.

Caroline29919 Caroline29919 3 years

It's not about money over people. It's about honoring your commitments to people and to your team. I'm pretty sure he signed his contract before his wife got pregnant. I personally don't see what difference 3 days makes anyway. If he really wanted to be with his wife and child, he should have taken the year off and done it right. I think it's pretty ridiculous to think that 3 days actually makes a difference to anyone or anything. He's not "bonding" in 3 days. That takes time and a long-term commitment.

I definitely value people over money. That's why I quit my day job to stay home with my kids....for more than 3 days.

PamelaKowalski PamelaKowalski 3 years

Players take time off for injuries, sometimes for whole seasons, so I highly doubt this man's 3 day paternity leave caused huge losses to those making money off the team. This man had a baby and a wife who both need him, and family comes first, not hotels, restaurants, team percentages, etc, etc. If people in charge took a moment to consider what's really important, life would be better for everyone, but for some reason, the workaholics who are only interested in making the most money possible are somehow allowed to run everyone else's lives into the dirt. To put a GAME in front of your newborn and wife is despicable and disgusting to most of us who value people over dollars. There are some who still really need to get their priorities straight.

ShelleyLogan41423 ShelleyLogan41423 3 years

Because playing baseball is SO much more important than being there for your family? For THREE days?! Daniel Murphy sounds like a great man and his wife is lucky to have him as the father of her child. He has his priorities straight. These sportscasters are idiots.

Sharon15327874 Sharon15327874 3 years

I support Daniel and think it's a great way to start a family. He will make a very good father to the child and is being a very supportive hubby to his wife.

Caroline29919 Caroline29919 3 years

I understand what you're saying but I understand the backlash too. I personally am not a sports fanatic, so this sort of thing doesn't directly affect me, but it does affect many others as well as city revenues versus if he were an accountant for abc company. Many people have a lot of money in stake over sports and games. A lot of the city's revenues are based on the team's winning percentages, as are hotels, restaurants, etc, etc. If this guy is a major player for this team, it does affect all of us through a trickle down. That's why it's such a controversy.

CyndiStoneSchnebly CyndiStoneSchnebly 3 years

Learn alittle about this situation. This ball player opening game was in another state. Not so easy to go to a game for a few hours and then visit the family. Also do you realize that to get ready for a game they show up 3-4 hours before the first pitch? Then the game is another 3-4 hours and then post game interviews, which are mandatory, clean up and trainer visits can another 3-4 hours. So playing a simple baseball game can put a player at the park for up to 12 hrs a game day.

I don't understand the backlash this man is getting. He did what he is allowed to do by his contract and what is right by his family. Why should any of us have a say in that? It doesn't effect us.

TheresaLittle TheresaLittle 3 years

I don't see what the big deal is. If he had an office job, no one would think twice about him taking 3 days off to be with his wife. Family comes first, no matter WHAT your job is.

Caroline29919 Caroline29919 3 years

If he were President, should he be able to take time off also?

(Although that's a bad comparison because our current President takes time off all the time, and has had more vacation days than any other President in history.)

Caroline29919 Caroline29919 3 years

Because he's made a commitment different from a regular job. And like I said in my post, going to a baseball game does not mean that he can't bond with his baby before or afterwards.

Caroline29919 Caroline29919 3 years

Let's be real....most of these rules apply to regular people, not to athletes, musicians, actors. They make a lot more money per hour and work a lot less hours per day/year and their schedules are very different. They have made that decision. This is similar to someone in the service. When his wife has a baby, he doesn't get 3 days off to come help her and bond with the baby. It's an occupational decision that means that family makes compromises.

How much time does it take to be at a baseball game? I'm imagining that a day of a baseball player is much shorter than a day at the office. If that's so, then he should have adjusted his timing and gone to the game, and gone back home to his wife and baby afterwards. It looks to me like he's trying to have his cake and eat it too. So typical!!!

IreneCarpenter IreneCarpenter 3 years

WOW! You can hardly walk after having a baby..the mom needs help! Most hospitals have done away with nurseries, leaving the mom to care for the newborn immediately after giving birth (I have 3 kids, different hospitals, believe me, I know this all too well). As for the scheduled C-section, that has to be the most IGNORANT comment I've heard in a while. Doctors are doing away with this practice because there have been too many lawsuits in the U.S. from complications resulting from unnecessary c-sections and inductions. Legislation to stop this is being passed in various states. Having a baby takes a major toll on a woman - she could die. Have some compassion and common sense.

mikki1362409738 mikki1362409738 3 years

Glad he was there. He did what he was supposed to do. Shows his character. Some other men who are complaining should take note of what a real man and father does. His priorities are right on.

DevraHuff DevraHuff 3 years

Daniel Murphy.....YOU ROCK!!!!! If more men cared about being a father, think where this country might be today. You child is very fortunate to have you as his/her Dad!! <3

Fendy14761024 Fendy14761024 3 years

WTF?! In Singapore, men take leave up to 1 month to care for wife and baby. I did that! We believe taking care of the child is the duty of both parents, not the nurses!I got involved in everything about my kid. I showered them, send them to the paedias for vaccination and all nitty, gritty things.

To think I look up to Americans in bringing up their children in an independent way.

RuthCooper77409 RuthCooper77409 3 years

"Like most men", Dan Murphy wanted to be with his wife at their childs' birth.
The other men, who are fools, aren't worth the time it would take to type their names, and should have their heads put in stocks. I would then take pleasure in pelting them with rotten vegetables.

TylerHaynie TylerHaynie 3 years

wow.. people really don't understand why a father wants to be with his newborn? "Ludicrous".. really?! wow, their mindset is entirely screwed up. He says.. "10 days.. what are you supposed to be doing?" how about taking care of your child and bonding.

ok.. end rant.

HeidiStover HeidiStover 3 years

You are a parent FOREVER and a player for a little time you need to choose your priorities you will NEVER get those moments back so spend time with your baby

KulloEgeltonPamela KulloEgeltonPamela 3 years

Bonding with the baby is important for the father. The Na Sayers should be pitied. Poor unloved them!

TeresaSpitler TeresaSpitler 3 years

I agree Amanda. The first few weeks of a life is so precious and to deny a parent of that opportunity is beyond me. I work work a new father that is taking 2 weeks off to be with his wife and child! How dare these commentators judge him and his wife!!! Maybe they should try giving birth then make a comment like that.

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