For those of you that do not know, Daniel Murphy is the New York Mets' second baseman. He is also a new father, his wife having just given birth to their first child, a son. Murphy's wife went into labor right around opening day and he left the team so that he could be with her for the birth and spend a few days afterwards with his wife and newborn son. For that he's been criticized by some for not coming right back to New York.
"One day I understand. And in the old days they didn’t do that. But one day, 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,” WFAN afternoon host Mike Francesa said on Wednesday.Francesa also compared paternity leave to vacation when informed that his own employer, WFAN, allowed fathers 10 days of paternity leave. That, sadly, was not even the worst of it.
“What are you going to do? I mean you are going to sit there and look at your wife in a hospital bed for two days?” he mocked. “Your wife doesn’t need your help the first couple of days; you know that you’re not doing much the first couple days with the baby that was just born.”
Esiason, on WFAN's morning show, made the astounding comment that Murphy should have insisted his wife "have a C-section before the season starts. I need to be at Opening Day, I'm sorry."Yes, that is correct. Boomer Esiason said that Murphy's wife should have had unnecessary surgery just so that her husband could be there for the birth of his first child and also make it into the opening day lineup.
While Murphy took the high road, Mets' skipper Terry Collins called out the critics:
"First of all, if you're accusing Dan Murphy of not wanting to play — this guy played 161 games last year. Wore himself out. Played with all sorts of discomfort. The man had his first child. He is allowed to be there. The rules state that he can be there, so he went. There is nothing against it. There's nothing wrong with it."Those rules that Collins talks about? It's that players are entitled to 1-3 days of paternity leave as part of the collective bargaining contract between Major League Baseball and the players' union. In fact, Murphy wasn't even the only player on paternity leave yesterday; so was Philadelphia Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins.
Both Murphy's taking paternity leave, and his non-response to his critics, is significant. It demonstrates that he is a father that wants to be there and wants to share in the parenting. He even talked about how he was the one that changed his son's diaper at the three in the morning. His non-response was even more important because through his other words, and his actions, he made clear that the choice he made is one that is self-evident. As a man, a human being and a Met fan, I applaud him for that. He made the right decision and now he's back with the club having made an important point that I'm sure he never intended to make because to him the course of action was obvious.