Charles Tillman, a star cornerback for the Chicago Bears, said in an interview the other day that it was possible he would miss Sunday’s big game with the Houston Texans if his pregnant wife went into labor….
That should have been that. But it’s never that, because the topic is relatable (the birth of a child) and the universe has gone utterly bonkers about football. There were the usual croaky claims that Tillman needed prioritize football, since football pays the bills, the Houston game is a big game, and the regular season is only 16 commitments a year. A football reporter for NBC Sports — the network that will host Sunday night’s Bears versus Texans contest — went to far as to suggest that NFL players attempt to avoid such conflicts by planning pregnancies that result in off-season childbirths.
So let’s fly the spaceship down to planet Earth and get our priorities correct. There’s supposed to be a corny part here where I say that no person who’s lucky enough to be a parent will look back at his or her life and remember a November NFL game, but the truth is, not many people sit back on a Tuesday and remember a November NFL game. Seriously: Do you remember who the Bears beat last Sunday? (Answer: The Poughkeepsie Thunderducks. No: the Titans.)…
It is the cliché of clichés, but there are bigger things than football. Charles Tillman should do whatever works for his family. Play or don’t play, it’s his call. Good for his family. Good for the Bears. This isn’t really a debate.
~ Sports writer Jason Gay, Wall Street Journal, November 8