Sports radio hosts blast player for taking paternity leave rather than playing baseball


Being a sports radio host sometimes means being full of hot air when white noise would be preferable, as in the case  Craig Carton and Boomer Esiason. The big names showed their small attitudes when New York Mets second baseman Daniel Murphy chose to be with his wife rather that at opening day of baseball season.

Esiason said:

“I would have said, ‘C-Section before it starts. I need to be at opening day. This is how we make our money; this is how we live our life. This is what is going to give our 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.'”

Carton followed, “I got four of these little rugrats; there’s nothing to do,” as he talks about how Murphy can’t possibly have a need to be home past 24 or 48 hours post-birth. The hosts point out that federal law gives Murphy a right to two weeks of paternity leave, but he shouldn’t take that right because baseball is more important than birth.

To his credit, Murphy dismissed the criticism, telling ESPN New York:

“I got a couple of text messages about it, so I’m not going to sit here and lie and say I didn’t hear about it. But that’s the awesome part about being blessed, about being a parent, is you get that 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.

“It’s going to be tough for her to get up to New York for a month. I can only speak from my experience — a father seeing his wife — she was completely finished. I mean, she was done. She had surgery and she was wiped. Having me there helped a lot, and vice versa, to take some of the load off. … It felt, for us, like the right decision to make.”

This controversy is one that would not be a controversy in a culture that valued life and birth. These “rugrats” are precious children. Opening day is, as Sporting News noted, one of 162 games played each day. It’s a day of work. The day of a life of a baby can’t be compensated with cash. The support to his wife can’t be replaced with a paycheck.

Baseball is a game. Birth is the miracle of life. To even compare one as being more important than another reveals the attitudes that have permeated a culture that regards sports figures as demi-gods while reducing the true value of life. Once upon a time, criticizing a man for caring for his wife and baby, telling him he should have told her to get a C-section–major surgery–and then calling kids rugrats with an entirely derogatory tone would have been considered offensive to the masses. Now it’s fodder for radio hosts to use airtime at the expense of a man who valued his baby and his wife over a game. If there is a baseball hall of shame, Craig Carton and Boomer Esiason should be the pillars of this museum.

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