Skip to content

Players missing games for babies being born raises plenty of questions

Getty Images

More than a few NFL players have made known this year their intention to miss a game in lieu of missing the birth of a child.

If push comes to shove, however, should they choose to be present for the pushing and not the shoving?

It’s a thorny issue.  My position was and is that the players have made a lifestyle choice that entails being available 16 days per year, no matter what.  If they choose not to plan their nine-month family expansion activities to coincide with the eight months per year when their work activities don’t entail playing games that count, why should their teams suffer the consequences?

For more comments that likely will provoke plenty of comments from some of you, here’s a slice of Wednesday’s PFT Live.

UPDATE:  He’s another look at the issue, after reflecting on the situation and considering some of your input.

This video is no longer available. Click here to watch more NBC Sports videos!
Permalink 63 Comments Feed for comments Latest Stories in: Chicago Bears, Home, Pittsburgh Steelers, Rumor Mill, Videos
63 Responses to “Players missing games for babies being born raises plenty of questions”
  1. gooch80 says: Nov 7, 2012 3:50 PM

    I almost half agree. I mean, they’re paying you millions to show up to your actual “job” 16 times a year. I mean, really, where do I sign up?

  2. gooch80 says: Nov 7, 2012 3:51 PM

    Oh wait… mean I need to be a physical freak to pass the interview?….Nvm…..PASS THE NACHOS!!

  3. footballfan says: Nov 7, 2012 3:53 PM

    I have to disagree 100%. I don’t know of anyone in any position in the world that doesn’t deserve to be there when their child is born. To make it sound like they should have planned better is a crock. How do you know these people have not been trying to have children for a while and finally got lucky??? Your child is only born once.

  4. teamobijuan says: Nov 7, 2012 3:54 PM

    NFL players only work 16 days a year?

  5. buttlicker says: Nov 7, 2012 3:54 PM

    how do you almost half agree what does that even mean, you quarter agree?

  6. crownofthehelmet says: Nov 7, 2012 3:54 PM

    What’s concerning is that you attach any negative spin on this at all. Maybe if all men got to experience this joy, our society would have more Tillman’s and less Cromartie’s.

  7. benyamen says: Nov 7, 2012 3:54 PM

    Seriously, have none of these people heard of pictosin or C-sections? In this modern day and age you can plan when the baby comes. Do it not on the weekend.

  8. profootballwalk says: Nov 7, 2012 3:55 PM

    I don’t understand it. The guy needs to be there when his kid is born, looking like a little tadpole, but he’s not going to be there when she learns to walk, because he’s at camp, or practicing? Most people can’t take time off from work any time they want. You’re the breadwinner – go out and win the bread, and be a great husband and dad when it matters. Your wife knows where the money comes from. That’s probably why she married you in the first place. How many of these guys would have the same wife if they were working at Subway?

  9. nnagi says: Nov 7, 2012 3:55 PM

    I have yo agree with you on this one, I know how important it is to see the birth of your children, but when you commit to playing professional football for a living, you really should plan accordingly…my wife and I have had no problems planning ahead, it’s not that hard…

  10. superdons says: Nov 7, 2012 3:57 PM

    Ha! Second ‘funniest’ thing I’ve seen in the last 24 hours after Karl Rove.

  11. dgforreal says: Nov 7, 2012 3:57 PM

    I’ve seen it said many times before that players are people and that we as fans sometimes forget this.

    But now they can’t take time off for childbirth like normal people?

    Can’t have it both ways.

  12. mattkgray says: Nov 7, 2012 3:58 PM

    Some things are bigger than football.

    Also it’s up to the Owner of the team, and if an Owner told his player he couldn’t go to see his kid be born, it would do more long-term damage than it would if that player missed one game.

    Child Please.

  13. goraidersgospurs says: Nov 7, 2012 4:02 PM

    This is one reason why teams have 53 players, people!!!

  14. grapes911 says: Nov 7, 2012 4:02 PM

    That is extremely insensitive. I guess I’m in the minority, but this is an issue close to my heart. Some of us have been trying for years to have children but medical issues can make that difficult. It can take a long time to work with the doctor to development a plan with drugs and what not. Every failed month means the plan has to be tweaked and tried again. No way in hell I’d stop because NFL games are nine months away. Damn the team and damn football. My family comes first.

  15. newmarketmaulers says: Nov 7, 2012 4:03 PM

    They get paid to be there for 16 games. They should be there for 16 games. Its one of the choices they made when they became a Professional Football Player. Im a schlep in a shcleppy job… its different.

  16. savocabol1 says: Nov 7, 2012 4:04 PM

    “My position was and is that the players have made a lifestyle choice that entails being available 16 days per year, no matter what.”

    You’re kidding right. So since you say no matter what you are indicating that the are to play football rather than attend the birth of their kid or attend a funeral of a loved one?

    Cold dude.

  17. bagjr387 says: Nov 7, 2012 4:05 PM

    In any major sporting event(superbowl, stanley cup finals, etc) players that win big always seem to answer the interview questions with:

    “besides the birth of my child(ren), this may be the biggest thing I have accomplished” or something similar….

    In my opinion some things are more important than any amount of money…I think a child birth is one of the few(very few) reason to miss a game.

  18. salmen76 says: Nov 7, 2012 4:06 PM

    Roger Goodell is turning the NFL players soft. There is absolutely nothing tough about Roger Goodell. The NFL we used to know will never be the same. Most players would still rather die than not play on Sunday. But nowadays in the NFL and out here in regular society there is a group of people with what i call “A false sense of entitlement”. They want the accolades and the money and the stardom but they don’t want to do squat to get it. My old 83 year old daddy says anything worth having is worth working for. I believe that and most other people do too. But there are some now that are just lazy. And Goodells girly policies and bounty and spy-gate witch hunts has damaged the moral compass of some players. Geaux Saints!

  19. chocopoppy says: Nov 7, 2012 4:08 PM

    I’d give the player an excused absence if he was married. If he is simply a baby daddy, no way — fine him a game check.

    Despite the election yesterday, we need people actually taking on responsibility in this country.

  20. andyb053 says: Nov 7, 2012 4:08 PM

    I see your point, but last I checked millions of babies in this world are born despite not being a part of their parents’ plans. So to say that they should plan around the offseason is a bit insensitive, in my opinion.

    NFL players may do a lot of irresponsible things (e.g. unprotected sex), but being there for your baby’s birth is very responsible of them.

  21. pilot2011 says: Nov 7, 2012 4:09 PM

    the woman is carrying around a bowling ball for 9 months and you can’t be there for her when that thing has to come out? That’s weak sauce

  22. larryboodry says: Nov 7, 2012 4:10 PM

    Disagree…No way a man should be penalized for attending to the birth of his child, EVER. If your backup is such a scrub that playing him in your place might cost you a game, then they need to find a better backup.

  23. eventhorizon04 says: Nov 7, 2012 4:10 PM

    “Seriously, have none of these people heard of pictosin or C-sections? In this modern day and age you can plan when the baby comes. Do it not on the weekend.”

    First, it’s spelled “Pitocin.” If you’re going to criticize “these people” for not knowing about it, you could at least spell it correctly.

    Second, use of Pitocin and the decision to undergo a C-section both involve health risks. Some women are comfortable with those risks, and some aren’t.

    I don’t think being the wife of an NFL player obligates someone to undergo medical procedures/treatments to make the birth of her baby more “convenient” for NFL fans.

  24. jayperry18 says: Nov 7, 2012 4:13 PM

    I think that Tilman already has a daughter that was born with serious birth defects. Given that, the man needs to be with his wife or what kind of person would he be.

    I wish the Tilmans the best of luck with this upcoming event. No football game is as important as your kids, for that matter no job is either.

  25. thestrategyexpert says: Nov 7, 2012 4:16 PM

    Agreed, the players should not get days off for personal reasons unless there’s really extenuating circumstances. It’s nice to be present for a baby, but they get paid to miss that privilege for the far greater privilege of playing football for millions of dollars. If it’s that important, then give up half a year’s salary or some giant chunk at least. Either the money is enough to buy your time or it’s not, let the players pick.

  26. tom-a-hawk says: Nov 7, 2012 4:25 PM

    For some, the birth of a child is a once in a lifetime thing. For everyone, it should be family first, job later. I’d commend any athlete that took time off to be with his child and wife/gf.
    They also chose a “lifestyle” of fatherhood and one of being a husband/partner. That trumps being a football player.

  27. srcnsd says: Nov 7, 2012 4:26 PM

    If soldiers can’t choose to skip work to go home for the birth of their children, why should football players?

  28. antalicus says: Nov 7, 2012 4:37 PM

    How many babies are born in less than a football games time? Play the game and use your NFL money to heli drop you at the hospital.

  29. texansmike says: Nov 7, 2012 4:38 PM

    As a Texans fan, I want to see Tillman play. You want to play the best. However, I think the birth of a child is far more important than football or any other game.

    Simple, let him attend his baby’s birth and simply don’t pay him that weeks paycheck.

    Problem solved.

  30. naptimequarterback says: Nov 7, 2012 4:41 PM

    “My position was and is that the players have made a lifestyle choice that entails being available 16 days per year, no matter what.:

    What’s next, players not being allowed to get injured? If you are so wrapped up in a team or a sport that you cannot bear to have a player miss a game to see a child being born, it’s time to point fingers in the mirror, not at the player.

    At the same time, this whole article smacks of something used to drive traffic to the site, not an actual opinion someone stands by.

  31. rufustfireflyjr says: Nov 7, 2012 4:52 PM

    As for “scheduling” childbirth during the off-season, well, accidents happen. And which would we rather have? A pro athlete who cares enough and is into his kids’ lives enough to be there when they are born, or one who “spreads his love” around with little regard for the consequences to his offspring? Seems to me that Tillman should be emulated, not criticized.

  32. getyourownname says: Nov 7, 2012 4:54 PM

    Antonio Cromartie endorses this rule.

  33. daysend564 says: Nov 7, 2012 4:59 PM

    There is a difference of about 3 zeros on each weekly paycheck they take for paternity leave.

    Let them go, but make them leave their game check.

    Decide if your child’s birth is worth $40,000-60,000.

  34. rufustfireflyjr says: Nov 7, 2012 5:03 PM

    chocopoppy says:
    Nov 7, 2012 4:08 PM
    “I’d give the player an excused absence if he was married. If he is simply a baby daddy, no way — fine him a game check.

    Despite the election yesterday, we need people actually taking on responsibility in this country.”

    Yeah, let’s do everything we can to discourage unwed fathers from bonding with their offspring. That’ll make it more likely that they’ll take on the responsibility of supporting their kids. Oh, wait . . .

  35. luckyarmpit says: Nov 7, 2012 5:14 PM

    I think the point is that professional athletes that get paid *A LOT* of money to perform 16 times a year on the world’s biggest stage should at least make a good faith effort to plan their… family planning… around the regular NFL season. Sure, accidents happen and sure, sometimes you can’t help it, especially if a couple has had problems getting pregnant. At least make an effort to plan around the regular season. But yes, by all means, if your child is born during the regular season you should absolutely be there.

  36. gooch80 says: Nov 7, 2012 5:17 PM

    I had the second post on this thread and mentioned nachos and people “thumbs down”ed nachos……really?? who the hell doesn’t like nachos?

  37. devrick says: Nov 7, 2012 5:19 PM

    What if it’s a Travis Henry or Antonio Cromartie situation? Do they get to miss four or five games a season?

  38. theflyingtad says: Nov 7, 2012 5:25 PM

    If Antonio Cromartie would have timed it right, he could have sat out the rest of the season.

  39. ghostofgilchrist says: Nov 7, 2012 5:32 PM

    Cromartie could have missed 1/2 a season!

  40. mistrezzrachael says: Nov 7, 2012 5:43 PM

    Great gig for guys like jets’ Cromartie….9 days off per year

  41. tokyomanblastersmom says: Nov 7, 2012 5:47 PM

    I have a mixed feeling on this one:

    Bears: your commitment is to football; you should be on the field.

    Every other NFL team: get your priorites straight — no need to play this game (against Chicago), go be with your family!

    See? 🙂

    Seriously, though – family should always come first. The birth of your daughter is a once-in-a-lifetime event, while this is just a regular season
    (albeit primetime) game.

    It’s not even a Conference game! Peanut’s doing the absolute right thing here…

  42. cowboysmb3dw28 says: Nov 7, 2012 5:50 PM

    These guys signed a contract to play in the NFL, and that contract includes playing on Sunday. I know it would suck to miss the birth of your child but not everyone gets the right to just take a day off work to be there. Guess what? I signed a contract too.. and guess what? I’m in the army now. If I’m deployed when my wife gives birth.. I’m not gonna be able to just come home to be there. Just because these guys are rich and famous doesn’t give them the right to just decide to take a day off of work like that I don’t think. Just my personal decision. But the NFL is a whole world of it’s own.

  43. cowboysmb3dw28 says: Nov 7, 2012 5:51 PM

    Personal opinion*

  44. oister78 says: Nov 7, 2012 6:08 PM

    What if a player’s child is being born during the Superbowl? I don’t think Tom Brady is going to see Gisele pop one out if this was the case. I could just hear Belichick now………..”Hoyer,,,,,, err,…… um…. Mallet,….ummm,,,, somebody get in there for Brady”.

  45. thepeoplesjunk says: Nov 7, 2012 6:10 PM

    If it was me, there wouldn’t even be a consideration…. I would be there for the birth of my child. Most of us work our whole lives and your child is only going to be born once. I guess it comes down to your priorities. Does a job, even a high paying one, come before your family? My wife is 7 months pregnant now and I just had this conversation with my boss. If they are going to fire you for missing work for the birth of your child, then you weren’t long for that job anyway.

  46. homerx says: Nov 7, 2012 6:17 PM

    Family first, enough said. This is what’s wrong with our country these days.

  47. mattyk72 says: Nov 7, 2012 6:22 PM

    Yeah they are well paid but so are a lot of people. In the end it’s just a game.

    Family trumps all.

  48. blspears says: Nov 7, 2012 6:42 PM

    If you leave your wife to have a baby and play a football game she will remember that for a very long time. Thats pretty awful. I commend those players that put their families first.

  49. jayperry18 says: Nov 7, 2012 8:38 PM

    Lets not forget that his planned absence is completely supported by his coach and his teammates.

    There is a reason why players want to play for Lovey, he has his head screwed on right.

  50. femalethatluvsthesteelers says: Nov 7, 2012 9:19 PM

    Being a female I agree that the players should play the game. It is easy to time the birth of a child other than a game day. Players only have to play 16 games and a few pre-games all year. They can either plan accordingly or schedule the birth accordingly.

    The birth of a child is a great accomplishment. But these days there is no excuse of a birth on a game day unless it is extremely necessary.

    Play on boys!

  51. eyeh8goodell says: Nov 7, 2012 10:06 PM

    I don’t care what my employer thinks or says, i’m there when my kid is born. Period. Pro football is entertainment. Anybody who says or thinks there’s something wrong with that needs to make an appointment with the local psychologist about your disgustingly misplaced priorities.

  52. peavey2 says: Nov 7, 2012 10:51 PM

    Good Grief. This isn’t a choice between family and employment. The father is there as a spectator. Make time to be there when your children grow up, that’s way more important than being there for an event that the child will not remember. I see it as the same as I don’t visit my parents graves. I made a point of spending time with them while they were alive.

  53. bluenoser23 says: Nov 7, 2012 10:52 PM

    The Bears should give him a choice – play the game and get paid or we’ll grant you an authorized but unpaid leave of absence.

    I don’t mind if he wants to be present for the birth of his child but to expect to be paid for missing work (especially when you only “work” 16 games a year) is a bit much.

    Perhaps Tillman should have his baby momma schedule a c-section on any other day of the week besides game day. Problem solved. 🙂

  54. femalethatluvsthesteelers says: Nov 7, 2012 11:37 PM

    If you leave your wife to go watch a game, that’s almost unforgiveable. If you leave your wife to PLAY a game (that is their job) then that is different. I would rather have my husband play and bring home that 100k check than to watch the birth.

  55. larryboodry says: Nov 7, 2012 11:55 PM

    bluenoser23 says:

    “Perhaps Tillman should have his baby momma schedule a c-section on any other day of the week besides game day. Problem solved.”

    I know you meant no harm or disrespect, and I really hate political-correctness, but that phrase – baby momma – really irks me. They’re married, she is his WIFE…JMHO. 😀

  56. patriotenvy says: Nov 8, 2012 7:23 AM

    If it is in their contract fine. There are people with far less lucrative jobs that miss their childs birth all the time. All the time with the men in the U.S. Military. Tyla Rattray raced the Southwick National motocross the day his son was born in 2010 and won the race, but wasn’t at the post race press conference because he was at the airport. NFL players think they are so special.

  57. oldirtyman says: Nov 8, 2012 9:42 AM

    When did everyone turn into such bleeding hearts, i saw my first child born and it was gross, play the game you are not going to miss anything special

  58. tramonisland says: Nov 8, 2012 9:54 AM

    Good thing Cromartie doesn’t agree with this, otherwise he’d be tied up every Sunday.

  59. tramonisland says: Nov 8, 2012 10:11 AM

    Being a Packer fan I hope she goes into labor at 6pm and the baby comes out at 10pm on Sunday. The Texans need to win this game.

  60. scd7 says: Nov 8, 2012 11:23 AM

    To those saying this is up to the owner or team, it may not be. Federal law provides that an employer must give time off for family events (like a birth or adoption) if that employee has worked for the employer for 12 months or more (and they do not have to be consecutive months). So unless the CBA specifically states otherwise (and I’m no lawyer but not sure it can conflict with federal rights laws) it’s Tilman’s choice, no one else.

    Is it fair or right to the team? Well I’m mixed on that and it depends on the situation. Did they just randomly say “lets make a baby now” and give no thought to when the baby would be due and they just elected not to do any planning then I have to somewhat agree they should have at least tried to be planned. After all he is a critical part of the organization. And how many other people do try to plan birth dates around something? I know we did. However, if ‘it just happened’ or they’ve been trying for quite awhile and finally succeeded then hey, the family is more important and kudo’s to him for being there and this is a non-issue.

  61. femalethatluvsthesteelers says: Nov 8, 2012 5:07 PM

    In the delivery room, I found that my husband was in the way! He actually became ill. Go and play the game and bring home the check. It is more important to provide a fund for college and be there as the child grows up than simply to be a spectator. I won’t let him be there when I deliver our second.

  62. briarjohn says: Nov 9, 2012 12:01 AM

    To be fair to Florio, as a former lawyer, he comes from a profession in which they regularly ask you to neglect your family. Regularly working 12-15, 16, 17, hell even 18 hour days/60 to 80 hour week is not uncommon for lawyers. Yes, technically firms are supposed to give you time for your personal life at some point, but that’s more in theory than practice. I’m not saying I agree with him, but I understand that he might be coming from a different context than the 9-5 crowd. It’s just a different culture that comes with a different perspective. For many in the legal profession, your a lawyer first and a father second.

  63. Samuel says: Nov 9, 2012 11:51 PM

    So what are the designated days of the year NFL players are allowed to have sex to coincide with your theory?

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!