Friday, January 23, 2015

Athletes Putting Family First

With the regular season over and the playoffs wrapped up, football fans are now turning their attention to the coveted Super Bowl and the Lombardi trophy it offers.  But there is another game in between now and then that, while not as popular as the NFL wishes it would be, still represents the best of the league.  The Pro Bowl, the NFL's All Star Game, is coming up and players are being invited to participate based on how well they played during the year.  One player, and a personal favorite of mine, Joe Flacco, actually turned down the chance to play in the game.  This was the first time Joe was nominated for the Pro Bowl, so what was his reasoning for turning it down?  The birth of his third child.

In a world where you have former football greats talking about using a C-Section to make a baseball game or current football greats using sticks to beat their children, it's incredibly refreshing to see a player actually put the needs of his family first before another accolade being added to his name.  I was pretty hard on Joe when his second child was born because he chose to play in a regular season game rather than attend the birth of his second child.  Whatever his reasons then, he decided he wasn't going to do that again and instead chose to be with his family during the birth of their third child.  Football teams have backup players and family should come first in all aspects of life.

Daniel Murphy
Earlier this year, Daniel Murphy of the NY Mets took paternity leave to be with his family.  Sports pundits were torn on the issue and you heard a lot of noise from both sides of the argument.  I was on the support side as you could probably guess and lauded the fact that he took something guaranteed to him as a player.  He wasn't doing anything illegal.  Baseball players are given time off for paternity leave to be with their families during an event that only happens a few times in their life time.  Players shouldn't be chastised for wanting to attend the birth of their children, they should be celebrated.  If you don't attend the birth, that's something that should be viewed as negative.

With the focus on maternity/paternity leave becoming a bigger topic in today's world, I hope we see more influential people, like celebrities and sports players, embracing their role in the family.  Our family is the most precious thing we have in life and we should always put them first, especially when there will always be another football game or another day of work where you can get things done.  We should work to support our family and be present with that family whenever possible.

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