Professional Athletes Deserve Right to Choose

Professional Athletes Deserve Right to Choose

We seem to have the same argument at least once a year, but at least the cycle of debate is getting shorter.


In 2010, some Yankees fans grumbled at first baseman Mark Teixeira missing games in August for the birth of his child, thought the Yankees had given him permission. In 2011, Dallas Observer writer Richie Whitt called Rangers pitcher Colby Lewis’ taking advantage of MLB’s then-new paternity leave and missing a start to be with his wife in delivery “ludicrous” and “weird. Wrong even.” Whitt was roundly criticized by commenters and bloggers (including me), though others agreed with him, to at least some extent.

And so this year: Thursday, Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio went on a Chicago radio show to complain that Bears cornerback Charles Tillman could possibly miss Sunday’s game for a poorly timed baby. “You work 16 Sundays and you get paid a lot of money to be available those 16 Sundays,” Florio said on The Score. “… It’s the life you’ve chosen, and the idea that you’re going to bail out on your team when the time comes when this is something that could have been planned around … It’s great to be able to say, ‘Hey, I’m taking this Sunday off,’ even though you only work 16 of them. I don’t think there’s going to be a lot of sympathy among football fans.”

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