Visiting Westchester, ESPN’s Mike Greenberg Joins Paternity Leave Controversy

The sports commentator speaks out on Mets second baseman Daniel Murphy’s decision to miss his opening game.

ESPN sportscaster Mike Greenberg shared his views Wednesday regarding criticism aimed at New York Mets second baseman Daniel Murphy who recently took three days of paternity leave after his wife gave birth via caesarean section.

Murphy, who is allowed one to three days of paternity leave by the MLBPA’s collective bargaining agreement, missed the opening day game with The Mets on Monday, March 31 as well as a game on Wednesday, April 2. This resulted in harsh criticism from several radio commentators including Norman “Boomer” Esiason.

“I would have said ‘C-section before the season starts. I need to be at opening day,’” said Esiason. “’I’ll be able to afford any college I want to send my kid to because I’m a baseball player.’”

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When asked about Esiason’s comments, Greenberg offered a rebuttal to the statement.

“My opinion on it is as simple as can be,” Greenberg said. “The notion that anyone would criticize him for not being there is ludicrous—completely ludicrous—and displays a complete lack of perspective on what really is and isn’t important.”

However, Greenberg added that Esiason has history of supporting various charitable causes and his character should not be judged entirely on his remarks regarding Murphy.

“But let me say this for those of you who don’t know—Boomer Esaison has a son who has Cystic Fibrosis. He has raised millions of dollars for this,” Greenberg said. “The last thing I’m going to do is accuse Boomer Esaison of is not being a devoted parent. Did he say a stupid thing? Absolutely. Did he deserve the criticism he received? Absolutely. But you don’t throw away a lifetime of good things that you have done based upon one comment, no matter how stupid it was. So on that level I defend him, because my wife wanted to find him and have him killed.”

Greenberg made his comments during a visit to the United States Tennis Association headquarters in White Plains to discuss the balance he’s created between family and sports, and to promote his book, Why My Wife Thinks I’m An Idiot: The life and Times of a Sportscaster Dad. His visit was part of USTA’s Business Resource Group Series, which are company-supported groups of employees brought together by shared interests.

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