Flacco misses birth of second child

There is a saying, that I’m not bad-ass enough to say – (or even type) – but it came to mind as I read this article about an NFL quarterback missing the birth of his child to start in his team’s home opener:

“Don’t hate the player, hate the game.” Ice-T, the rapper, before he became an actor on the TV show “Law and Order” is credited as the originator of this quote. I would quote more from his rap, but that is about the cleanest line in the entire song.

Urban dictionary will tell you that this phrase means:

“Do not fault the successful participant in a flawed system; try instead to discern and rebuke that aspect of its organization which allows or encourages the behavior that provoked your displeasure.”

Now that, that is something I would say. And while logically I get that Joe Flacco was probably contractually obligated to play in that game and miss the birth of his child. That he and his wife probably knew the risks when they married, got pregnant, and he signed that million-dollar contract. That they knew it was a possibility he would be forced to miss many special family moments and they planned for that and Flacco’s wife probably had a whole support team with her for labor…

Another part of me is like ‘Really?!’ I couldn’t imagine my husband not being there for the birth of our child. I mean the whole reason you get married/commit your life to someone is that whole ‘life partner’ thing right? (And killing spiders and reaching things off high shelves for me.) What does it say when your ‘life partner’ misses a moment that will never happen again? Sure, there may be more children, but not that child, not that unique moment.

What does it say about society and how far we still have to go?

What does it say about family dynamics?

Again, I get that this was something the Flacco’s knew was a potentiality and prepared for it. But what does that say that we can convince ourselves that something that is not, will never be, “right”, is in fact OK?

To be clear, I am not saying that ALL men/partners must ALWAYS be in the birth room. I know for many cultures that is prohibited. But I am saying that for most cultures/societies the man/partner is in some way supporting his laboring partner while she is in labor, and if not there in the room for the birth is there moments after. And for the culture I write from, the American culture, it is the societal norm that the husband/partner be present with the laboring woman.

While my slant on this is pretty obvious, I’d like to know yours. What do you think of this new article: Joe Flacco’s Wife Gave Birth Sunday and Flacco Started Against the Browns”

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What’s your take on this article?

Under what circumstances is it OK for a person to miss the birth of their child? (obviously emergencies not included.)

Is it made more “OK” because Flacco is being compensated a gross sum of money?

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Stella 1 week family picChandra is a Mom and Foster Mom. She holds a Master’s degree in Theology and is particularly interested in the theology of infertility. Chandra grew up in the Northeast but she and her husband are raising their daughter in the middle-of-nowhere Indiana. She has 3 chickens that drive her crazy, a huge garden, and a penchant for bacon. She occasionally attempts to make sense of all those things, and more, over at her blog, MetholicBlog. She never has a tidy house and she is in constant need of coffee.

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Comments

  1. “Under what circumstances is it OK for a person to miss the birth of their child?”. Any circumstances THEY choose. Who are we to judge? Society doesn’t get to decide individual family morals and choices. Slippery slope. I suggest we all mind our own business and decide for our families who is in the room, and let other families decide the same for themselves.

    • It was not my intention to pass judgment, I said ” I couldn’t imagine MY husband not being there” It is was obviously a different story for the Flaccos, which is fine, but for me personally it would not have been fine. The fact that it made national news makes it hard to ignore, and is a good prompt in general for discussion of family dynamics, culture, and society.

  2. It’s funny you bring up money, because to me, I think the fact that he makes so much is a reason he should have been there. There are many instances where the male counterpart has to miss the birth of the child for circumstances that he has little control over. I am thinking a military person on deployment and someone who has to work far from the home because that is the only way to support his family.

    I am not writing this from personal experience (my husband works at a bank!), but I do have some family members who work in contract jobs where they would probably miss big life events. The spouses make the decision together knowing that these are the best job options for them to support the family. But these decisions are made out of necessity. There are many athletes who miss games, tournaments, etc to participate in the birth of a child.

    Hunter Mahan left the Canadian Open (which he was winning and the prize money was $1MM) to be at the birth of his child. I know this isn’t a team sport, but come on, The Ravens were playing the Browns they should have been able to win that game with their third string QB.

    Thanks for sharing, good topic!!!!!
    Side note- I really dislike Joe Flacco in general (he burned me in a Fantasy Football league once and I just won’t get over it). This may have skewed my opinion.

  3. Personally I don’t think this is such a big deal, largely because my GUESS is that, like you say, Flacco was contractually obligated to play and didn’t just choose to miss the big arrival. It was (likely) a family decision to have this child and they (hypothetically) could have tried to have the child outside of the regular playing season (I know, a funny thing for an IFer to say, but it’s true for many people) if dad was dead-set on being there.

    I work in the construction department of a major company and have coworkers assigned to projects all over the world. Families are not allowed to accompany employees to many of those project sites, meaning that lots of my coworkers have been out onsite when their children were born here in Spain. At first I found that incomprehensible, but since talking with them it’s become much clearer. As one of them said, “I’d rather actually HAVE the child in my life and miss his birth than not have the child at all.” I respect that. They made the decision going into it, knowing the probable scenario. To each his own.

  4. Surprisingly (to myself) this doesn’t bother me that much. Now if he was just your average Joe sitting at home WATCHING the game on TV, I might have some concerns. 😉 The birth is a big moment no doubt, but if serious work obligations create a conflict, and the partner just CANNOT be there, well… meh. For me, I’m all about the partner showing up in the lives of these children, not as concerned with them showing up for the births. I’m much more concerned about the society we live in that makes it hard for so many working dads (and moms) to spend quality day-to-day time with their children, ya know?

    • Agreed. I want a 40 hour work week, none of this 50-70 hour work week blech. People need time to be people and families.

      • Exaaaaactly!!! My husband has a great job (so thankful for that) but is looking for a new one because he doesn’t like getting home so late and missing so many “moments” with the girls. Our society makes it really hard to make that choice on so many levels.

  5. Poppyseed and Muffin says:

    what about those countries in which it’s not a accepted norm that the dad is even present at birth?? if it was really that important to the family, she could have a planned c section at an earlier date during the week! (please tell me she didn’t give birth at 28 weeks or something horrible like that).

    i hate to say it sometimes work really does get in the way of family.

    • I addressed the cultural differences in the piece:”To be clear, I am not saying that ALL men/partners must ALWAYS be in the birth room. I know for many cultures that is prohibited. But I am saying that for most cultures/societies the man/partner is in some way supporting his laboring partner while she is in labor, and if not there in the room for the birth is there moments after.” Additionally, it’s one thing to miss the birth because it’s culturally proscribed, it’s another to miss it because we live in a consumeristic society that tells it’s pro athletes that being able to watch your favorite QB is more important than anything, even family. My point, and perhaps it was too subtle, was that it’s ok to miss the birth, as long as it’s ok with the partners involved. What’s not OK, in my opinion, is that we live a culture that places more value on a sports team than on family time.

  6. The article kinda turned me off because even the author couldn’t say for sure if Mrs Flacco was okay with Flacco missing the occasion. I feel like it was written to stir the pot.

    There was a NASCAR driver in the same situation earlier this year. I remember telling my husband that missing the birth of a child so he could drive a car would NOT be okay with me. But the more I thought about it, the more I figured when the couple realized what the due date was, they realized the husband not being at the birth would be a possibility. They (hopefully) had about nine months to figure out what to do.

    Shoot. Players are playing football with casts on their hands. Ultimately, this is how these people get paid, so I’m not super surprised Flacco missed the birth of his child. I just hope that it was a decision made between Flacco and his wife, and not Flacco and the NFL.

  7. I think it’s a pretty sensible article, presenting different conjectures without judgment.

    And really, it’s okay for any reason, especially when it isn’t by choice. Specifying choice as an acceptable excuse can only encourage shaming and finger-pointing. My husband was not at the birth of his child, nor did we even meet her until she was nine months old. I expect to miss the births of all of my children. That has nothing to with our ability to love and parent our children.

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