Should pro athletes take paternity leave?

This is now enough of a national controversy to warrant coverage on “The Today Show,” and yet there’s a problem. It involves the wrong guy in the wrong sport on emphatically the wrong team. If you really want sports yakkers and mommy bloggers at each other’s throats, you need a superstar from the NFL or NBA taking paternity leave before a big game, not the second baseman from New York’s Other Team sitting out three days at the start of a year in which they’re expected to be terrible (again). No one cares about that except people who are paid to do so, which explains why the “Today Show” online poll on this was running 97/3 in Murphy’s favor as of 1 p.m. ET. Frankly, I’d support giving him three days’ leave for no particular reason. When you play for the Mets, those aren’t “days off.” That’s parole.

Imagine, though, this were RG III deciding to skip the NFC Championship Game to spend extra time in the maternity ward with his new bundle of joy. Acceptable? What if it was the Super Bowl? It’s fun trying to game out when, precisely, a three-day absence moves from a touching gesture of filial bonding cheered by sports fans to a dereliction of duty that should probably result in the guy being traded in the offseason. In September, if the Mets are in a pennant race? In the postseason? If Murphy’s chasing some record? For all the abuse Esiason and Francesa are taking for the clips below, there is a point at which the balance of equities in a sports fan’s imagination would shift and Boomer’s idea about a conveniently-timed C-section would start sounding not so goofy. What is it?