The Mets Paternity Leave Debacle Isn’t about One Piggish Commentator, It’s about Culture

April 8, 2014

1:00 pm

After New York Mets second baseman Daniel Murphy took advantage of his full three-day paternity leave last week, he was critiqued on air.

According to ESPN, WFAN Radio’s Mike Francesa said, “You’re a major league baseball player. You can hire a nurse. . . . What are you gonna do, sit there and look at your wife in the hospital bed for two days?”

It’s tempting to look at this incident and call it a case of piggishness, one ridiculous commentator whose mouth ran away from him on a public broadcast. But that would be an easy excuse – and miss the point.

In what universe would someone even remotely think about criticizing a father for taking a three-day paternity leave for his first child, let alone say the words aloud?

Well, a universe where paternity leave is three days. A male-dominated universe with a macho culture. A universe that startups should take care to avoid.

Does your startup have a paternity leave policy? What would you say to a new father who asked for time off? What would you think, and what might your employees say behind his back? What culture are you creating at your startup? Something to consider as you watch your next baseball game this season.

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Kira M. Newman is a Tech Cocktail writer interested in the harsh reality of entrepreneurship, work-life balance, and psychology. She is the founder of The Year of Happy and has been traveling around the world interviewing entrepreneurs in Asia, Europe, and North America since 2011. Follow her @kiramnewman or contact

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