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Ballplayer’s decision casts spotlight on role, rights of dads

For many years, fathers have had difficulty asserting their rights when it comes to child custody issues. The very idea of fathers’ rights strikes some as odd; after all, by their logic, dads should devote their primary attention to their careers and leave raising the children to their mother. More and more people are realizing that this notion is an antiquated one. However, there are still pockets of society where men are criticized for devoting their attention to their families at the expense of their jobs.

One of these areas may be professional sports, or at least major league baseball. Daniel Murphy, a player for the New York Mets, elected to take two days of paternity leave for the birth of his son earlier this year. Murphy was criticized for the move; critics said that a player can’t afford to miss any games in a relatively short season. In addition, the games Murphy missed were the team’s first two games of the year, traditionally a time when fans are eager to see their favorite players for the fist time in several months.

Murphy was well within his rights to take time off; in fact, under the terms of the players’ agreement with the league, he could have taken a third day of paternity leave, had he chosen to do so. The attention brought to the case has led Murphy to be invited to a summit meeting at the White House to discuss working families and how fathers play an important role in the well-being of their families.

Source: ESPN, “White House invites Daniel Murphy,” Adam Rubin, June 3, 2014