I love sports.
Some may say that I love sports more than the ordinary person.
I love sports so much that I decided to earn a living from sports.
But as much as I love sports, I know where it lies on the list of my priorities in life.
Among the things that are ahead of sports on my list of priorities is family, which brings to me to the interesting case of Chicago Bears cornerback Charles “Peanut” Tillman.
Tillman and his wife are expecting their fourth child within days, possibly Sunday — the same day the Bears will host the Houston Texans on Sunday Night Football in what will be the biggest game of the year so far.
Tillman has been very clear about where his priorities will lie Sunday if his wife goes into labor that day — with his family.
His decision to be with his wife for the birth of his fourth child has come with the support of his teammates and coaches, but that doesn’t matter to Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk.
“My position was and is that players have made a lifestyle choice that entails being available 16 days per year, no matter what,” Florio wrote in the piece he posted Wednesday. “If they choose not to plan their nine-month family expansion activities don’t entail playing games that count, why should their teams suffer the consequences?”
There are a number of reasons why I disagree with this personally.
First, I am a father of one, but I was there throughout the entirety of the birth of the process. Now I saw some crazy things in that room that day that definitely threw me for a loop, but I wouldn’t trade that experience away for anything.
It’s an experience that I will never forget and will cherish for the rest of my life. If I were in the position that Tillman is in now, having his fourth child, I would make a concerted effort to be there and will definitely take a day off from work, without question.
Granted, Tillman and I do not share the same job. I sit at a desk for eight to 11 hours on a given day while Tillman performs in front of thousands of people in person and millions more at home.
Not to mention he’s also being paid a lot more than I am, too.
The second reason why Florio is dead wrong in what he wrote is because what is Tillman really missing out on? A game?
We often refer sports as “just a game” in this country whenever tragedy strikes. Does that not apply to the birth of a child, too?
This is where the fanatical nature of sports blinds people into what’s really important in life.
People can wrap themselves up so much in sports, that the things that should be important to a normal person: child birth, death in the family, etc., is pushed to the back-burner.
Let Florio’s insensitive comments be a bit of a lesson to all you sports fanatics who border on addiction: There’s nothing wrong with being a fan and loving sports, but do not, I repeat, do not lose sight of the things mean more in life.
Tillman has since responded to Florio in a Tweet saying that the baby is due Monday, not Sunday and that he will be on the field Sunday night.
But anyone who’s had children, myself included, knows that babies in the womb make their own schedule. So this may not be over just yet.
Florio has also changed his tune a bit, posting this piece Thursday after the avalanche of backlash he received from readers.
At the end of the day, if Tillman, one of the most important pieces of the Bears’ defense, does miss the game Sunday night, he’s simply doing what’s important, not turning his back on his team or fans.