By Justin Sink
The White House will be marking Father's Day with an event next week featuring New York Mets second baseman Daniel Murphy, who made headlines earlier this year with his decision to take paternity leave at the beginning of the 2014 baseball season.
The June 9 event is intended to "explore the dusty, outdated stereotypes" surrounding fatherhood and "lift up businesses that have created win-win cultures enabling their working dads and moms to be more involved parents and better employees at the same time," a White House official said.
Murphy missed this season's opening day after the birth of his son, Noah, drawing criticism from some in the sports media.
New York radio host Mike Francesa blasted Murphy, 29, for his three-day absence.
"You see the birth, and you get back," Francesa said. "What do you do in the first couple days? Maybe you take care of the other kids. Well, you gotta have someone to do that if you're a Major League Baseball player. I'm sorry, but you do. … Your wife doesn't need your help the first couple days, you know that."
Former NFL quarterback Boomer Esiason also criticized Murphy's decision.
"Quite frankly, I would've said, 'C-section before the season starts. 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 our 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,' " Esiason said on his radio show.
But Murphy, who will attend the event with his wife, son, mother, and father-in-law, defended the decision in a statement provided by the White House.
“As much as I love baseball there was no way I was not going to spend a few days with my first child," Murphy said. "Thanks to the Mets for their backing, I never thought I would wind up at the White House talking about fatherhood.”
The White House official said the event would "explore the breadth of roles dads play today at home, the new challenges dads experience balancing career and family, and how both businesses and working families benefit from progressive workplace policies like paid parental leave and extensive workplace flexibility options."
Chief of staff Denis McDonough, Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx and Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers Jason Furman are among the administration officials who will participate in the discussion.