Friday, April 4, 2014

Francesa, Boomer and Carton Spat Over Murphy Paternity Leave Hits National Level

When Daniel Murphy decided to spend time with his pregnant wife as she was about to deliver the couples child, little did he think it would create a firestorm that has now become a national storyline. 

It all started on Opening Day when a few upset Mets fans decided to call into the radio stations questioning Murphy for skipping the Mets season opener to be with his family. The comments were initially brushed aside as incompetent comments from incredibly incompetent fans. 

Then, WFAN radio hosts Mike Francesa, Craig Carton and Boomer Esaison decided to jump to the fray to lend their opinion on the matter, and their outrage over Murphy's decision to be a husband and father first was not only classless, it leaves a horrifically bad taste in the mouth about the talk radio giant, WFAN, and the hosts are now on the defensive. 

It all started with Craig Carton who blasted Murphy for missing the first two games of the Mets season to be with his family in Florida, because it forced the Mets to bring up Wilmer Flores. 

"To me, assuming the birth went well, assuming the baby is fine ...  you have a good support system and you get your ass back to the team and play baseball ... you are not breastfeeding the kid," Carton blasted on his AM show. 

Esaison, the typically more logical partner in AM drive crime, looked uncomfortable as Carton ripped Murphy, saying the second baseman had legal rights to be with his wife. Then, perhaps out of pressure by Carton to take a hard stance he dropped a heck of bomb when he said he would have suggested to his wife get a c-section so he could play in Opening Day. 

To his credit, Esaison apologized on his radio show Friday morning. "I felt bad that Daniel Murphy and his wife were dragged into a conversation and their life was exposed. That is my fault. It's my fault for uttering the word c-section, and it put their lives under a spotlight." 

However, Francesa probably spent the most time breaking down the Murphy "situation." Big Mike spent 22 minutes ripping apart Murphy's decision to be with his wife for more than a few hours. Francesa went with the old school approach, citing that baseball players shouldn't be with their wives, and should entrust nurses and staff to be there instead. He even went as far as to call the federal rules of paternity leave a "scam." 

"... I was in the room, they handed me the (my) babies when they were born. What was I going to do afterwards? The babies went to the nursery, my wife fell asleep. I went to work," Francesa said laughing. "What do I do, sit there? I don't get it. I'd rather go out and get a couple of hits if I were a baseball player. The best thing I can is go out and play, go make some money." 

When a caller tried to call up Mike and correct him for his extreme comments, Francesa shut him down in typical Big Mike fashion. 

"I don't care. He's a major league baseball player. You explain to me why he needs to be there. Unless there's complications, that's a different story. In the old days they weren't allowed to leave (the team). Now they let the players leave. But why should they be gone more than a day?" 

Francesa tried to back out saying his biggest issue had more to do with the number of days for paternity leave, problem is he didn't choose his words wisely the other day. Now he is getting blasted from left to right by the national media. And he deserves it. 

Francesa's comments were insensitive. Francesa should have hung up on the Mets fan who called into the show to rail against Murphy. If he had, this wouldn't be a story today. Instead, he turned it into a rant. 

What Francesa, Carton and even Esaison don't seem to understand is that MLB Paternity Leave is by rule, three days, agreed upon in the Collective Bargaining Agreement by baseball and the players union. The players understand that while they are enjoying the fruits of being an major league baseball player, it isn't forever. Being a father is forever. Murphy wanted to be there as long as he could to make sure everything was fine with his family. That is his right, it's his life. 

To make matters worse this saga will likely fracture, if not strain, any relationship these hosts have with the Mets organization. The Mets already left WFAN earlier this year to have their games broadcast on WOR 710. However, that probably didn't preclude any Mets from being guest callers into shows. Now, with this, that might change. 

Keep in mind Francesa is no stranger to ruffling feathers. Even the New York Jets want nothing to do with him. 

These hosts should have thought twice before jumping all over this story. They should know well enough the boundaries between on the field and off the field stories. Personal lives should never be discussed, period. These guys know, better than most, that professional athletes are just human beings. But, alas like everything else, that was forgotten. Now the question is, can the trust be reestablished? 

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