Bears & Tillman Handling Potential Missed Game with Class, PFT Not so Much

Andrew Garda@andrew_gardaFeatured ColumnistNovember 8, 2012

CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 22:  Charles Tillman #33 of the Chicago Bears tackles Calvin Johnson #81 of the Detroit Lions at Soldier Field on October 22, 2012 in Chicago, Illinois. The Bears defeated the Lions 13-7.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

I didn't get a chance to sound off on this yesterday when it happened due to impending snowstorm, but I thought it worth mentioning: for a dad, Mike Florio seems pretty clueless.

I'm referring of course to the idiot notion that Charles Tillman isn't perfectly justified to skip Sundays game—if needed—to be there for the birth of his child.

Florio waxed poetic about the burgeoning issue of players missing games to be at the birth of their child.


Where to start with this nonsense?

First of all, part of my issue with this is that sites like PFT have spent copious amounts of time ripping into the likes of Antonio Cromartie and Travis Henry—as well as others in the NFL and other sports—for being crappy parents.

They mock Cromartie for allegedly not knowing all his kids names, Henry for not keeping it in his pants. They rip on other players for bad parental moments.

In short they get clicks mocking fatherhood.

So when a guy does the right thing—and any father worth a damn will tell you showing up for your kid's birth if you have any chance to is the right thing—you question him?

Further you pull out the 'well you make millions to show up 16 times, you should schedule better'?

If you do, you're a moron. I'm sorry if that offends you, but it's the truth. At the very least, Florio is uneducated or willfully ignorant of the many issues with that pair of arguments. 

For an ex-lawyer, that's ridiculous.

First of all, Florio knows better than to trot out a flat out lie that they are required to show up for 16 days. Um, I don't know if you've noticed Mike, but the NFL is a year round affair. Gone are the days where you just show up in July, sweat off the fat and get into game shape.

You train for 365 days a year.

On top of that, even if you didn't, you are required to be at the facility for most of the rest of the week.

So 'we ask so little of you' is bullcrap. They do more than play on Sunday. It's disingenuous to say otherwise.

Secondly, the idea that you can simply schedule the birth of a child, while not wrong overall, doesn't take into account the myriad of factors we don't know about Tillman and and this birth.

Did they have issues conceiving? Was this an 'accident' where birth control failed? There are tons of other questions we could ask that, frankly, none of our damned business.

I'm not a Bears fan, but I feel like I wouldn't be far off saying the fan base won't kill Tillman for missing a game for something like this. The Bears support him in the decision (if it comes to it and it might not) and I imagine 99% of the fans would as well.

This is a job—a phenomenally well paid one but a job nonetheless. It is not  the totality of their life. It's not Madden where they cease to exist when they step off the field. They're real people and life continues when they aren't playing football.

Can you try to plan things like the birth of a child? You can try but life sometimes has other plans.

It's a job and the owners of a football franchise don't own the players and more thoroughly than your boss does at any job you do. Money is bigger, sure, but the point remains the same.

Now there is a point that some folks, for various reasons, can't leave their job for something like this. In my opinion that's wrong. But that shouldn't impact Tillman doing it.

Those are two separate issues.

I was talking on Twitter with fellow B/R writer Michael Felder and College Basketball Talk contributor Johnson about this today and we got into a somewhat uncomfortable area at the end.

What colors this whole conversation is that idea that the athletes owe anyone anything. Fans have, in general, started to look at players through the lens of 'things' not 'people'. Not everyone, not even close.

But it's there. Maybe it's about the impact of fantasy football where you own a player. Maybe it's social media and the ability to talk trash at anyone with no real repercussion.

These people have lives outside of football and as we all know, life tends to be complicated, messy and impossible to control.

We forget that at times and it's unfair.

Players don't owe us, as fans, anything. We can argue what they owe the franchises they play for but even that has a limit on it.

The unfortunate thing in all this was, Florio wasn't interested in shining the light on fatherhood rights or the fact that there are plenty of dads who couldn't be at a birth due to holes in family labor law. He raised the military but even the military will try to get someone home for a birth if it's possible. 

If you're in Afghanistan, it's hard to make it home when you're wife or significant other is in labor—even a super long one.

But instead, he chose to troll with a bullcrap straw man argument where the world ends because Tillman misses a game.

He even followed it up with the unlikely scenario where a player might have to miss a Super Bowl! 


One would think someone might figure a way to deal with that highly improbable scenario.

Charles Tillman may or may not miss the game this weekend.

Whatever his choice and the outcome, the Bears, myself and many others stand behind him and say only:


Check out the B/R NFC North Facebook page—like us and keep up with everything NFC North on Bleacher Report.

Follow me on Twitter at @andrew_garda.


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