“It’s the fifty yard line, Dad!” – Little Giants
Please welcome daughter Beth Mason. She is an honors graduate of both Metropolitan State College and the University of Maine School of Law. She and her husband Mike reside in St. Petersburg, Florida. She is preparing to take the Maryland bar.
Here’s a subject I never thought I’d be writing a blog post about: Baseball. It’s not that I dislike the sport; I grew up watching Sandlot, Field of Dreams, and A League of Their Own. My Dad is a huge fan, and my sister got that gene, it just somehow skipped me. And if you asked me if I knew who Daniel Murphy was yesterday, I would have said “which sport?” My father and sister would have lovingly made the face they always make when I am being out of touch with their favorite American pastime.
But I woke up to the “outrage” seemingly sweeping the nation over Boomer Esiason’s comments about Murphy’s paternity leave. No, not just that he took leave and missed two games to be with his wife, Tori, while she gave birth to their first child. But the audacity of Tori for not scheduling a C-section early so that he didn't have to miss opening day. That right there was enough for me to roll my eyes. I haven’t had any children, and I am no expert on C-sections. But from what I understand, a C-section is major surgery that comes with possible complications and an extended recovery time. It’s unconscionable and grotesque that he would suggest that, but not altogether surprising that a man wouldn't understand the ramifications of the procedure.
But then I read the next comment attributed to him on CNN. That’s what really got me jumping up and down on my hat the way my dad does when an umpire makes a bad call. The player, Esiason claims, should have told his pregnant wife:
“"I need to be at Opening Day. I'm sorry. This is what makes our money. This is how we're going to live our life. This is going to give my child every opportunity to be a success in life. I'll be able to afford any college I want to send my kid to because I'm a baseball player.”
What!? He suggests Tori has little capability to work, to contribute money for the family, to give her children opportunities or assist in sending them to college. And because her husband makes more money, she should acquiesce to unsafe demands. I don’t know what her resume looks like, whether she has a college or post-grad degree, whether she works or volunteers. But that is not the issue here. To suggest that she should be spoken to in that manner by her husband and that her worth should be so diminished is what’s truly disgusting.
Maybe it’s because I grew up with strong women as role models. Both my mother and step-mom put themselves through post-grad programs as single parents. I got to know the tough-as-nails female cops my dad works with and the intelligent female lawyers he took me to meet at the Supreme Court in Washington, DC. Maybe it’s that I have been mentored by fantastic, smart women throughout my career. It could be because I watched my sister nearly die giving birth, all but deprived of her third trimester of pregnancy, and bravely fighting to give her child the chance to be the healthy three-year old he is now. Or maybe it’s because I had a father that told me I could be anything I want when I grow up and once said to me “nothing makes a man a feminist faster than having daughters.” Maybe that is why those few sentences outraged me more than any of Esiason's other comments.
His words are thoughtless, but they send a message. Good luck sending that message to the women I just graduated law school with, one of whom studied for and passed the bar while heavily pregnant. Good luck telling it to the female soldiers I have had the chance to know or the female doctors, nurses and volunteers in the neonatal intensive care unit who are saving babies and comforting their families. Just don’t you dare tell that to the millions of adolescent girls who love baseball. No woman is going to go off and follow his suggestion that she endure a C-section to accommodate her husband’s busy schedule. But plenty of girls love baseball like my little sister. Plenty of impressionable girls heard his thoughtless words and may have filed that comment away with the millions of other comments on their worth that they are bombarded with. It is at this kind of message we should be outraged.
He has since apologized for seeming to “tell women what to do with their bodies” and for subjecting Murphy and his wife to unwanted attention and scrutiny. What he never apologized for was suggesting that Tori’s worth was inferior to that of her “provider” husband.