Boomer Esiason apologizes for his comments about Daniel Murphy taking paternity leave


The other day, Boomer Esisason — co-host of the Boomer & Carton show on WFAN — took on the subject of Daniel Murphy taking paternity leave. His opinion: in Esiason’s words, Murphy should “get his ass back to work.” Boomer also said that Murphy’s wife should’ve had a C-section before the season started so Murphy didn’t miss any time.

This was insane, of course, and in the past 48 hours Esiason either reacquainted himself with sanity or had his wife smack him over the head, because today he apologized. And it was a very good, and heartfelt apology:

“I just want to say again on this radio show that in no way, shape or form was I advocating anything for anybody to do. I was not telling women what to do with their bodies. I would never do that. That’s their decision, that’s their life and they know their bodies better than I do. And the other thing, too, that I really felt bad about is that Daniel Murphy and Tori Murphy were dragged into a conversation, and their whole life was exposed. And it shouldn’t have been.

“And that is my fault. That is my fault for uttering the word ‘C-section’ on this radio station. And it all of a sudden put their lives under a spotlight, and for that I truly apologize. I tried to reach out to Daniel yesterday through intermediaries over there at the New York Mets, and to his credit, he answered all of his questions yesterday. I’m sorry that he had to go through that. No man should have to go through that. And certainly Daniel Murphy, who we both admire much as a baseball player as anybody else — and all I can say is that I truly, truly, feel terrible about what I put them through. So for that I certainly apologize.”

Esiason, from what can be told from his public record, is a dedicated father and husband who has gone above and beyond the call of duty both in taking care of his own son (who has special needs) and doing charitable work for others. So when I heard this the other day I was rather surprised. My guess: this is one of those situations where the talk radio medium took over the thinking parts of his brain. The lingua franca of that world is calling out athletes for being soft and playing up to the dude-bro listenership who like to hear that stuff, and it’s easy to auto-pilot in that mode if you let yourself.

Good for him for coming to his senses on this.

Spending bill could exempt minor leaguers from federal labor laws

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Mike DeBonis of the Washington Post reports that, according to three congressional officials familiar with current talks, an upcoming spending bill could exempt minor leaguers from federal labor laws. This is an issue we have spent some time covering here. A bill proposed in 2016, H.R. 5580, would have amended language in Section 13 of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 which would have made it so minor leaguers wouldn’t be protected under a law that protects hourly workers. There is also an ongoing class action lawsuit over unfair labor prospects.

As DeBonis notes, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is among the representatives backing the measure. The provision specifically concerning minor leaguers didn’t appear in any of the draft spending bills, but DeBonis spoke to officials familiar with the negotiations under the condition of anonymity who said it was under serious consideration by top party leaders.

DeBonis got a comment from Minor League Baseball president Pat O’Conner. He said, “We’re not saying that [minor league pay] shouldn’t go up. We’re just saying that the formula of minimum wage and overtime is so incalculable. I would hate to think that a prospect is told, ‘You got to go home because you’re out of hours, you can’t have any extra batting practice.’ It’s those kinds of things. It’s not like factory work. It’s not like work where you can punch a time clock and management can project how many hours they’re going to have to pay for.”

O’Conner said as much in an interview back in December. It’s an extremely disingenuous deflection. O’Conner also said, “I don’t think that minor league baseball is a career choice for a player.” This is all about creating legislation that allows Minor League Baseball to keep money at the top, which is great if you’re a team owner or shareholder. If they could get away with it, every owner of every business would pay its employees as little as possible, which is why it’s important to have unions and people keeping an eye on legislation like this that attempts to strip laborers of their rights in the dead of night.

Minor league players need to unionize. Or, better yet, the MLBPA should open their doors to include minor leaguers and fight for them just as they would a player who has reached the majors. Minor leaguers should be paid a salary with which they do not have to worry about things like rent, electricity, food, and transportation. They should be provided healthcare and a retirement fund. And if anyone tries to tell you it’s not affordable, MLB eclipsed $10 billion in revenues last year. There’s plenty to go around.

The owners are banking on this legislation passing and labor still coming in excess due to young men holding onto the dream of making the major leagues. According to CNN, “far less than 10 percent of minor league players ever get the chance to make it to the major leagues.” Some of these players have forgone college to work in baseball. They arrive at the park in the morning and leave late at night, putting in far more than your standard eight-hour work day. Since their bodies are their vehicle for success, they have to exercise regularly and vigorously off the field while maintaining a healthy diet. (And teams are still reluctant to invest even the smallest amount of money to ensure their young players eat well.) Minor leaguers make tremendous sacrifices to pursue their dream and now Major League Baseball and Minor League Baseball have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars lobbying Congress to legalize taking further advantage of them.