New York Mets infielder Daniel Murphy’s decision to seek paternity leave in order to be with his wife after the birth of their child has drawn scorn from a trio of New York sportscasters.
Murphy, who is expected to be the Mets’ starting second baseman this season, missed the team’s opening day game on Monday and a second game on Wednesday due to paternity leave. Major League Baseball’s collective bargaining agreement allows players to take anywhere from one to three days off in such cases, so the 29-year-old is well within his rights to do so.
But New York radio hosts Mike Francesa, Craig Carton and Boomer Esiason, all of whom appear on sports radio juggernaut WFAN, each took shots at Murphy for missing more than a single game. On his Wednesday afternoon show, Francesa spent around 20 minutes criticizing the Mets player, Yahoo Sports reports.
“I don’t know why you need three days off, I’m going to be honest,” Francesa said. “You see the birth and you get back. What do you do in the first couple days? Maybe you take care of the other kids. Well, you gotta have someone to do that if you’re a Major League Baseball player.”
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“One day, I understand,” he continued. “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. …What are you gonna do? Are you gonna sit there and look at your wife in the hospital bed for two days?”
On their top-rated morning show “Boomer & Carton,” Esiason and Carton echoed Francesa’s opinion. Specifically, Carton took exception to the fact that Murphy decided to stay with his wife after the birth had already occurred.
“To me, and this is just my sensibility … assuming the birth went well, assuming your wife is fine, assuming the baby is fine … 24 hours,” Carton said. “You stay there, the baby’s good, you have a good support system for the mom and the baby, you get your ass back to your team and you play baseball.”
Esiason, who is a former NFL quarterback, acknowledged Murphy’s right to take paternity leave, but claimed that he would have handled the situation differently. “Quite frankly, I would’ve said, ‘C-section before the season starts, I need to be at opening day,’” he said. “’I’m sorry, this is what makes our money, this is how we’re gonna live our life, this is how I give my child every opportunity to be a success in life.”
On Thursday, Murphy discussed the situation with New York Daily News reporter Andy Martino.
“She had had surgery, and she was wiped,” Murphy said, referring to his wife. “So having me there, I think, helped a lot. That’s a choice that parents get to make. You discuss it with your spouse, and you figure out what works best for your family.”
In addition, Mets manager Terry Collins had harsh words for Murphy’s critics, Martino reports. “When you starting attacking Dan Murphy’s credibility, you need to look in the mirror,” Collins said. “You’re attacking a guy’s integrity. … He is an old-school player. It’s his first child.”