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Should Pro Athletes Be Able To Enjoy “Paternity Leave” After The Birth Of A Child, Even If It Means Missing A Few Games?

Submitted by on April 4, 2014 – 1:15 pm2 Comments

New York Mets second baseman Daniel Murphy did not expect his 2014 MLB season to get off to such a strange start. Late Sunday night, Murphy’s wife went into labor down in Florida, and Murphy immediately traveled from New York City to the Sunshine State in order to be by her side and witness the birth of their new son Noah. And because of it, he missed the first game of the Mets’ season. He also stayed with his wife for a second day on “paternity leave” and missed a second game because it’s going to be a couple of weeks before his wife is able to travel up to New York to be with him. And he’s been getting ripped by the media for doing it, with many MLB analysts, sports talk radio hosts, and sports bloggers wondering why he didn’t return to the Mets immediately after his wife was done giving birth.

“What are you doing to do,” WFAN Radio host Mike Francesa asked on the air, “sit there and look at your wife in the hospital bed for two days?”

Murphy himself has already spoken out and said that he believes he made the right decision by staying with his wife.

“That’s the awesome part about being blessed,” he said, “about being a parent, is that you get the choice. My wife and I discussed it, and we felt the best thing for our family was for me to try to stay for an extra day—that being Wednesday—due to the fact that she can’t travel for two weeks.”

Frankly, we don’t see what the big deal is here. Had Murphy missed, say, Game 7 of the World Series to stay with his wife or even just an important game in a tight playoff race, we might be a little bit more outraged. But at the end of the day, he missed two games at the very beginning of the season that weren’t important when you consider that he missed them to be with his wife and new baby. So we don’t have a problem with Murphy taking “paternity leave,” and we don’t have a problem with other pro athletes doing it, either. If they want to be by their wives’ sides when they give birth, that’s their right and they should do it. No questions asked.

Do you think that the idea of pro athletes taking “paternity leave” is acceptable? Or do you think that athletes should be required to play in games, even if their significant others have given birth?

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