Last week, Boomer Esiason, former quarterback and current sports commentator, made some very incendiary comments about Major League Baseball player Patrick Murphy, who had recently taken three days paternity leave for the birth of his son. Because babies don’t care what sport you play, Murphy’s son was born on opening day and as a result Murphy missed two games.
Esiason argued that Murphy should have forced his wife to schedule a c-section before the season started. Esiason’s comments immediately went viral and he apologized for his criticism of Murphy several days later. I’m not here to attack Boomer Esiason for a few comments he made on a talk radio show (not usually the mecca for rationality). By all accounts, Esiason is a dedicated family man himself. In fact, he was named Father of the Year in 2009 after starting a foundation to fund cystic fibrosis research after his own son Gunnar was diagnosed with the disease.
The truth is that while Esiason’s comments were extreme they represent an idea that has been part of the American philosophy for decades, especially among American men.
Work comes first. Family comes second.