On March 31, 2014, Daniel Murphy’s wife went into labor with their first child. Murphy, excited by this news, immediately took three-days off work for paternity leave to be with his wife and baby. However, the very next day he was berated by the media for even thinking of leaving work to be with his wife and child. Why? Because Daniel Murphy, in addition to apparently being a supportive husband, is also the second baseman for the New York Mets and chose to take his paternity leave on Opening Day.
The media, specifically led by radio hosts Mike Francesca and Boomer Esiason, labeled Murphy as selfish. Francesca, a father himself, stated that one day off might be allowable, but no more than that. Specifically, he said on his radio show “You’re a Major League Baseball player. You can hire a nurse to take care of the baby if your wife needs help.” Esiason, also a father, said that he would have told his wife to have a Caesarean section before the season began so that he could be at Opening Day.
Aside from the fact that Murphy only missed two of the 162 games in the 2013 season, there is a much bigger reason that Murphy should not be criticized. The paternity leave is in his contract. Major League Baseball has a Collective Bargaining Agreement with the player’s union which, in Article XV, Section N, agrees to comply with the Family and Medical Leave Act and to additionally allow for a player to take a paternity leave. In fact, Murphy was not even the only player to take paternity leave on Opening Day, as Minnesota Twins pitcher Brian Duensing also missed time to be with his wife and newborn.
Not only are these players being criticized for missing what amounts to less than two percent of the season, but they are being unfairly condemned for exercising a contractual right.
To see the videos of the radio host’s criticisms follow this link: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/04/03/mike-francesa-daniel-murphy_n_5083509.html
To view the MLB Collective Bargaining Agreement follow this link: http://mlb.mlb.com/pa/pdf/cba_english.pdf