Mike Francesa, a sports radio host on WFAN, is very upset that Mets second baseman Daniel Murphy missed two games this week due to paternity leave. So upset, in fact, that he went on a twenty-minute tirade, calling a ten-day paternity leave a gimmick and "a scam and a half."
Murphy took three days off. But Francesa went on a tear:
I don't know why you need three days off. I'm gonna be honest. You see the birth and you get back. 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.
You're a major league baseball player, you can hire a nurse. Whaddya gonna do, sit there and look at your wife in the hospital bed for two days?
When informed that some companies give ten days — that can be taken up until a year after the baby is born — Francesa got livid, calling it "utterly ridiculous" and saying:
Why would you have to take ten days off? What are you doing? If you're not taking them right away, then why are you getting them? What are they for? Why would you get ten days off when your wife has a baby? You didn't have the baby. Why do you get ten days off? I'm being honest. I don't understand.
But wait, there's more:
I understand a woman, you gotta give her whatever she needs… Why does a guy get ten days off? What'd he do?
For a baseball player, you take a day? Alright. Back in the lineup the next day. What are you doing? I'm being serious. What would you be doing. I guarantee you you're not sitting there holding your wife's hand.
Later in the rant, Francesa dismissed the possibility of post-partum depression and complications: "We're talking about regular childbirth here."
There are numerous studies proving that it is very important for fathers to bond with newborns; the closeness affects not just the child — leading to better mental health — but the father himself, triggering hormones associated with nurturing. As for the new mother, it can be absolutely priceless to have her partner around in those first few days, since her ENTIRE WORLD has changed and she's suddenly responsible for a helpless squirming infant. The two of you have created a family. Why wouldn't you take all the time you can?
Murphy, who plays for New York but hails from Florida and is on the road a lot, is actually pretty lucky to have paternity leave, Travis Waldron writes for Think Progress, calling it "an opportunity most American workers don't enjoy."
The United States, in fact, is one of just three nations out of 178 surveyed that doesn't guarantee paid maternity leave, putting us behind countries from Canada (50 weeks) to the United Kingdom (20) to Mexico and Pakistan (12). American mothers, by contrast, are guaranteed 12 weeks of unpaid leave.
Meanwhile, over on the CBS Sports radio show Boomer & Carton, Craig Carton said that assuming the mom and baby are fine, after 24 hours, it's time to "get your ass back to work." Former NFL quarterback Boomer Esiason had a different take:
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 to send my child to any college I want to because I'm a baseball player.'
You read that right: He suggests a wife schedule her C-section around her husband's sporting event. Priorities.
Image via Getty.