TODAY

TODAY   |  April 04, 2014

Mets star sparks debate over paternity leave

Mets star Daniel Murphy, who missed the season’s first two games this week to attend the birth of his first child, sparked a heated discussion about paternity leave after his decision didn’t sit well some sportscasters. NBC’s Craig Melvin reports.

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>>> daniel murphy , the second baseman for the new york mets missed the season's first two games this week because he was out with the birth of his first child.

>> that's right. his decision did not sit well with sportscasters that sparked a heated discussion about paternity leave .

>> good morning, guys. matt, savannah. it is a newly ignited hot topic in and outside the world of sports. and as a brand new dad myself, i've got a unique perspective on it all.

>> number 28, daniel murphy !

>> little did daniel murphy know that when he missed the first two games of the mets season to be with his wife and newborn son his absence would strike such a chord.

>> i need to be at opening day . i'm sorry, this is what makes our money.

>> get back to your team and play baseball. that's my take on it. there's nothing you can do anyway. you're not breast-feeding the kid.

>> your wide doesn't need your help the first couple of days you know that.

>> he defended his decision thursday saying he wanted to be there for his wife.

>> it is exhilarating. my wife and i really, really enjoyed the experience. she is too good of a woman for me. so it was a humbling process to see how well she handled it. it was an awesome occasion to see just the birth of your son. i can't really describe it.

>> major league baseball allows three paid days for new dads. most don't provide any. according to a 2012 study, just 13% of businesses provide paid paternity leave . still, roughly 85% of new dads use vacation days or forgo a paycheck altogether to take time off. something previous generations didn't even consider.

>> the expectation around fatherhood was you made money. you might pop in for a few key moments, but you really were a dad if you were providing resources for the rest of the family.

>> in my house, these days, the family expects more from dad. meet delano joseph melvin, 25 days old we call him del. we have what's called a baby bonding period. two weeks paid paternity leave . i took both and added two vacation days. my wife lindsey led me to believe she's grateful.

>> not just the help. it's more about the time you've been able to spend with him. right?

>> yeah.

>> and you're not going to make me cry. because that's not going to happen and i'm like five words in and --

>> i asked one question. i asked one question.

>> but no, i think it's about the amount of time. and you getting to experience all the firsts, like look at how much he has changed in just a few weeks, in just a few weeks from when he's come home.

>> the chance to enjoy and celebrate the small moments. together.

>> oh, yeah.

>> yeah.

>> yay!

>> we're all crying.

>> we should note here, boomer esiason apologized on the show. he said, quote, i'm truly sorry for the insensitive comments i made earlier this week about paternity leave .

>> ignited a fire storm .