Al Horford and his sister demonstrated effective advocacy for working dads in their response to Mike Fleger’s criticism over Horford’s paternity leave
I love professional sports.
I hate how so many fans take sports too seriously and how sports radio hosts seem stuck in the Stone Age when it comes to valuing fatherhood.
Two years ago, MLB star Daniel Murphy took two games’ paternity leave, using MLB’s forward-looking policy, and was excoriated by some of the most prominent sports radio personalities for doing so. Thankfully, there was a swift backlash against these radio hosts, with one ESPN poll indicating 95% supported Murphy’s decision.
Two years later, the same dynamic has played out yet again. Boston Celtics’ center Al Horford recently missed one game to be at the birth of his daughter. Boston sports radio host Michael Felger somehow found this offensive.Thankfully, just like last time, the backlash was quick – his teammates, fans and employer all voiced support for Horford and his family. Importantly, Al Horford himself, as well as his sister, made effective statements pushing back against criticism and asserting the importance of fatherhood. Al took the high road. His sister, Anna, was more provocative.
Together, I think they show the blueprint for effective advocacy.
Al Horford’s words:
My family’s very important to me. I’m in more of a unique situation because this is our first year [in Boston] and my wife, we all moved in the middle of the pregnancy. And [there is] a lot going on. So I just felt like it was important for me to really be there, supporting her. And we have a son as well. So for her, it’s been a lot thrown at her these past few months. I know that it meant a lot for me to be there with her.
Way to go dad! Stepping up to support his wife and family, and keeping his response positive and above the fray. Horford’s sister took to Twitter with a more blunt message (NSFW):
As a public advocate, professor and author, I can’t exactly endorse the language, but I really do applaud the sentiment.
I also think this combination is the blueprint for effective advocacy- we need to take BOTH the high road and the low road. The high road- calmly and consistently sticking to a positive, rational message. The low road- meeting the jerks in the gutter and taking it to them. They go hand in hand.
We will need lots of both for 2017 and beyond!
What do you think about the Horfords and their responses? Let’s discuss in the comments.
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