Family before football: Why the Charles Tillman "debate" is asinine

Al Bello

How many of us would choose to skip the birth of our child in order to go to our job that day? The NFL should be no different. It's just a job.

One of the big stories this week has been that of Chicago Bears defensive back Charles "Peanut" Tillman and the arrival of his new child, scheduled to happen relatively close to this Sunday's game against the Houston Texans. The reason it's a story is that it brings up the question, for some, of "Should Tillman miss the game in order to be present for the birth?"

I personally can't even believe this is even a question, from anyone. Who among us, that either have kids already or plan to have kids one day, would honestly miss one of the most spectacular moments in your entire life (and that of your significant other...AND that of your new child) in order to go to your JOB?!?

What employer wouldn't understand an employee taking time off for this? None that I'd ever work for, and I'm willing to bet I'm not alone. Now, the Bears have said that they support Tillman if he chooses to miss the game. I'm not saying they don't. But if you rule out the employer disapproving of the decision, what other motivation could there possibly be to miss the birth of a child in order to go to work?

If you don't have kids I can understand how this might not mean quite the same thing to you as it does to those of us who do. However, I can guarantee you that you've never, in your entire life, experienced the feeling you will get when your first child is born...and the only time you'll ever feel that way again is if you have another. It is arguably the biggest moment in a person's life. How can a job, any job, compare to that whatsoever?

PFT's Mike Florio compared the choice of attending childbirth to that of a death in the family, saying players should be able to choose just like they do when a mother, father, brother, etc. dies just before a big game. I say that's a bad analogy.

Instead what if you had a family member who was dying, at that very moment they were slipping away, be it due to a car accident or finally succumbing to a long illness...would you choose to go to work that day rather than be by their side? What if your mother, your brother, your child were going to actually die during a work-day? Their last breaths, afraid, knowing they'll never see you again, perhaps having some last words they never told you.

If this were an NFL player with a family member in this situation, they should make the decision to honor the "lifestyle choice that entails being available for 16 days per year, no matter what" as Florio says?

Bullshit.

Nobody would make that choice and they shouldn't ever, ever be asked to even consider it. The same should be true for childbirth, and it's rather disgusting that it's even a question.

What's wrong with society that anyone would want a man, a person made-up of the same matter as me and you, to miss such a momentous occasion in his life, a life that's worth every bit as much as the rest of ours, just to entertain the masses in a GAME!?!

I think that anyone, including Florio, who has even the slightest doubt that Tillman should miss the birth of his child in order to play a game, be it his job or not, needs to stop and really re-assess the way they look at the world and how they value another person's life.

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