Jay Sokol, who you might know as Dude of the House, says that athletes should be granted paid paternity leave for the births of their kids.
Sokol focused on baseball, pointing out that while players are at home during off-season, many of them are busy swinging their own bats and making babies – so it’s only natural that birth would occur in the middle of the next season. In the past, players would have to take time off from the team at their expense, and probably suffer the gentle ribbing of many teammates. As of 2011, however, the MLB allowed players to get on a “Paternity List” which afforded them 24-72 hours of sweet time with their kids.
The paternity leave list may be used when a player finds it necessary to leave the team to attend the birth of his child. A player placed on the paternity leave list must miss the next team game, but no more than three games. The team can use another player from its 40-man roster to replace a player on the paternity leave list. This list was adopted beginning with the 2011 season.
With all of the research we’ve seen about bonding with newborns and the biology behind it, it’s important for dad to be there – not just for a couple of hours during birth, but for a couple of days afterward. In a perfect world, a player would have at least a week to be home, take care of his wife and bond with the baby. But 72 hours is a good start.
We spoke recently about other athletes bending their schedules around children – some with newborns. It just makes sense that in team sports – especially one like baseball with deep rosters – a new father is afforded time to physically be with his child and make sure everything’s set at home before going “back to work.”
I agree with Sokol: give players time to bond with the baby! Be sure to head over to Draft Day Suit and read the rest of Sokol’s piece.