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Baseball player mocked for taking paternity leave

With another baseball season getting underway last week, one story overshadowed the Dodgers’ quest to repeat as champions of the N.L. West. No, it was not the L.A. Angels’ struggles or Clayton Kershaw’s injury. In fact, it did not have to do with any player’s performance on the field. Instead, a player’s request for paternity leave dominated headlines. 

New York Mets second baseman Daniel Murphy missed the first two games of the new season while spending time with his wife and newborn child. Under major league baseball’s collective bargaining agreement, players may have up to three days of paternity leave during the season. However, Murphy’s absence drew substantial criticism from some people in the media.

Broadcasters Boomer Esiason and Mike Francesa were highly critical of Murphy, and did so on the air. Esiason said that he would have had his wife schedule a C-section before Opening Day. Francesa said that he didn’t understand why Murphy needed the extra days, and that Murphy’s wife didn’t need his help.

Both broadcasters later apologized for their statements, but their sentiments are a reminder of a bias that is prevalent in many industries that men do not need any time off for the birth of a child, despite the benefits noted by pediatricians. Essentially, the bonding process is important for new dads just as much as it is for moms.

Nevertheless, less than half of new fathers take paternity leave, according to a CareerBuilder survey. Of the new dads who take time off, only a fraction get paid leave.

Source: “Parents slam WFAN broadcasters Boomer Esiason and Mike Francesa for mocking Mets second baseman Daniel Murphy’s paternity leave,” Molly Friedman, Nicole Lyn Pesce, Apr. 4, 2014

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