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Fatherhood Is a Partnership, Unless You Are in Professional Sports Apparently

Fatherhood Is a Partnership, Unless You Are in Professional Sports Apparently

Congratulations, Daniel Murphy, on the birth of your new baby. And an even bigger congratulations on your understanding that parenthood is a partnership, and one that both spouses are equally involved in, which is an idea that appears to be lost on many of your professional sports colleagues.

Murphy, the second baseman for the New York Mets, has been under a ridiculous amount of criticism from professional sports broadcasters over his decision to take 3 days off after the birth of his first child, causing him to miss two games.

Radio broadcaster Mike Francesca went on a diatribe about the player skipping town to be with his wife and child, saying there was “nothing” a father could even do for those first few days, so what was the point? “I don’t know why you need three days off. I’m gonna be honest. You see the birth and you get back,” he said during a radio show. ”What are you doing the first couple of days? Maybe you take care of the other kids? You gotta have someone do that if you’re a Major League Baseball player. I’m sorry, you do. Because your wife doesn’t need your help the first couple of days. You know that. You’re not doing much those first couple of days with the baby that was just born.”

Former football player Boomer Esiason had an even better idea, stating that Murphy should have forced his wife to have a C-section before the season started to make sure her birth didn’t interfere with his work. “Quite frankly, 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’re 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 kid to because I’m a baseball player.”

Murphy has responded to his critics by noting that it was a decision that he and his wife made together, and that, due to her inability to travel because of the birth, it made sense for him to stay the extra day, missing an additional game, knowing that it would be the last time he would see his wife or child for a month. “[T]hat’s the choice of parents that they get to make. That’s the greatness of it. You discuss it with your spouse and you find out what you think works best for your family,” Murphy told ESPN.

The league’s parental leave policy is sparse as it is, with new fathers allowed to miss only three days after a child’s birth. For perspective’s sake, that may not even cover the entire period of the hospital stay in an uncomplicated birth, depending on how long the labor is. In comparison, baseball’s season is as much as six months long, with games starting in April and extending potentially into October if a team makes it into the World Series. That’s over 160 games, of which Murphy was pilloried for missing just 2.

The criticism he received makes it clear that among sports personalities at least, there is still an assumption that as the “earner,” a father is unnecessary in parental roles, as he can always be replaced by paid help, such as a nurse, and that his most important role is to provide the monetary means to be “successful,” which in this case appears to be good schools, college educations and other things money can buy. No doubt those are all good, but what children really need to succeed is positive role models, people who are there as a presence in their children’s lives, and know that supporting a spouse, bonding with a new baby, and shouldering responsibility for parenting their children is as important if not more important than any financial assistance. They especially need to know that daddy wouldn’t make mommy have an unnecessary and risky surgery just to make it easier for him to get to work.

So, again, congratulations, Dennis Murphy. It looks like you are already well on your way to being an excellent father.

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Photo credit: Thinkstock

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11:55AM PDT on Jun 29, 2014

He was fortunate to have a choice. Our soldiers do not have that option when they "go to war". What is wrong with this country that fathers aren't allowed to be with new borne babies and their mothers?

11:10AM PDT on Apr 9, 2014

congrats to Mr Daniel Murphy and his new born child, more fathers need to spend time bonding with their children

9:55AM PDT on Apr 9, 2014

My mom recently came to visit me in Hong Kong. I asked her what she noticed and her #1 thing was that the men were participating in parenting. The other issue here is that we have glorified (and highly paid athletes) that we do not admire. I hope this is changing for the better. Our children deserve true heros.

6:59AM PDT on Apr 8, 2014

Good for Murphy. too bad that "good breadwinner" thing is still widely so perceived as the only component of husband- and fatherhood.

5:45AM PDT on Apr 8, 2014

I agree with Rhonda.

5:14AM PDT on Apr 8, 2014

Good for Dad!

4:01AM PDT on Apr 8, 2014

"3 days off after the birth of his first child...??? Really..? A bloody joke is what it is!"........Ben O., not sure how to take your comment, but if it's meant to criticize this player for being a REAL man, you are the one who is a joke.

Baseball is a game, albeit the major leagues are also a business and he's a professional, but most business' now grant "family leave" and that includes time off for husbands to be with their wives when children are born.

3:43AM PDT on Apr 8, 2014

Well said, Don L. I agree with you completely. I live near Seattle and therefore am a Seahawks and Mariners fan. I know many of the players are dedicated family men. Russell Wilson is an example of a very fine young man with good values, just for one.

Who is this "Hayhem" commenting a dozen times with Arabic symbols? Personally, if these comments are not just SPAM, maybe somebody should inform him/her that few here will take the time to "Google" a translation.

1:29AM PDT on Apr 8, 2014

So sad the poor decision by Mike Francesca and Boomer Esiason to criticize instead of congratulating Daniel Murphy. Doesn't show team sportsmanship or 21st century thinking. Luckily his team manager did give Murphy the time off and he could bond with his wife and new baby. Congratulations to Daniel and his wife. Thanks for the post.

11:57PM PDT on Apr 7, 2014

"So, again, congratulations, Dennis Murphy. It looks like you are already well on your way to being an excellent father."

Murphy is someone with his head screwed on correctly when it comes to family.

As to Francesca and Esiason, don`t let the door hit you in the ass as you fail in being an authentic human being!

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