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In 1993, Houston Oilers player David Williams missed his team's game against the New England Patriots because his wife was giving birth to their first child.

The criticism was swift and furious. And it wasn't just fans who were disappointed that Williams wasn't out on the field — team management was, too.

Williams, left, was an offensive lineman for the Houston Oilers from 1989-1995. Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Allsport/Getty Images.


"This is like World War II, when guys were going to war and something would come up but they had to go," one of Williams' coaches told The New York Times. "[Williams] let the guys down, and he let hundreds of thousands of fans down."

At the time, the team even threatened to fine Williams for missing the game, if you can believe it.

But today, in 2016, a major NFL star says he's willing to follow in Williams' footsteps.

A.J. Green is an awesome football player. So far it sounds like he might turn into a pretty good dad, too. Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images.

Superstar wideout A.J. Green of the Cincinnati Bengals, whose wife is due with their first child in late September — smack dab in the middle of football season — said he wouldn't hesitate to skip a game if it meant watching his firstborn come into the world.

"I can't play," he told the Cincinnati Enquirer. "First one, I definitely want to be there."

Though he added, "Anything before a game day would be ideal."

Green's absence, even for just one game, would be devastating for the Bengals. He's a perennial Pro Bowl player and widely considered to be one of the best at his position in the league. Still, as important as he is to his team, it sounds like Green knows his wife and soon-to-be son or daughter will be counting on him even more.

Babies being born on game day has often (and unfortunately) been controversial for professional athletes.

Williams and Green aren't the only athletes to ever have to address this conundrum either.

Joe Flacco missed the birth of one of his sons to play in a game. Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images.

Joe Flacco of the Baltimore Ravens skipped the birth of his second son a few years ago to start in a regular season game. In response, a few folks scratched their heads at his decision. Mostly, though, there were jokes. Lots of jokes.

Compare that to former Mets player Daniel Murphy, who did the opposite — he skipped the first two games of the 2015 MLB season to be with his newborn son. And he got eviscerated by analysts and former players for it.

"Go see the baby born and come back," radio host Mike Francesca said. "You're a Major League Baseball player. You can hire a nurse to take care of the baby if your wife needs help."

Former NFL quarterback Boomer Esiason piled on, saying Murphy and his wife should have scheduled a C-section before the season started to ensure he didn't miss any time. Esiason later apologized.

"You can hire a nurse to take care of the baby if your wife needs help." — radio sports host Mike Francesca

This time, though, it seems like Green is setting a new standard. And his teammates appear fully behind his decision, too.

"I was proud of A.J. for saying that," teammate Andrew Whitworth told The Dayton Daily News. "It's your kid. It's important."

"That's something you can't miss," wide receiver Brandon LaFell added.

Of course, it would be ideal if a dad simply being there for the birth of his kid wasn't worth applauding. But its not just athletes who get shamed and punished for stepping away from work after birth; other dads do, too. So it's nice to see someone braving the backlash and normalizing the idea that men being there for their families is a good thing.

The fact that the traditionally rude, crude, hyper-masculine NFL locker room is standing behind Green's desire to be with his family is a sign that maybe we have made progress after all. And, hopefully, the next time a big-time athlete decides to put family first and skip a game, it won't make headlines.

Health

A child’s mental health concerns shouldn’t be publicized no matter who their parents are

Even politicians' children deserve privacy during a mental health crisis.

A child's mental health concerns shouldn't be publicized.

Editor's Note: If you are having thoughts about taking your own life, or know of anyone who is in need of help, the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline is a United States-based suicide prevention network of over 200+ crisis centers that provides 24/7 service via a toll-free hotline with the number 9-8-8. It is available to anyone in suicidal crisis or emotional distress.


It's an unspoken rule that children of politicians should be off limits when it comes to public figure status. Kids deserve the ability to simply be kids without the media picking them apart. We saw this during Obama's presidency when people from both ends of the political spectrum come out to defend Malia and Sasha Obama's privacy and again when a reporter made a remark about Barron Trump.

This is even more important when we are talking about a child's mental health, so seeing detailed reports about Ted Cruz's 14-year-old child's private mental health crisis was offputting, to say it kindly. It feels icky for me to even put the senator's name in this article because it feels like adding to this child's exposure.

When a child is struggling with mental health concerns, the instinct should be to cocoon them in safety, not to highlight the details or speculate on the cause. Ever since the news broke about this child's mental health, social media has been abuzz, mostly attacking the parents and speculating if the child is a member of the LGBTQ community.

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Famous writers shared their book signing woes with a disheartened new author.

Putting creative work out into the world to be evaluated and judged is nerve-wracking enough as it is. Having to market your work, especially if you're not particularly extroverted or sales-minded, is even worse.

So when you're a newly published author holding a book signing and only two of the dozens of people who RSVP'd show up, it's disheartening if not devastating. No matter how much you tell yourself "people are just busy," it feels like a rejection of you and your work.

Debut novelist Chelsea Banning recently experienced this scenario firsthand, and her sharing it led to an amazing deluge of support and solidarity—not only from other aspiring authors, but from some of the top names in the writing business.

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This article originally appeared on 04.15.19


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The legality of abortion is one of the most polarized debates in America—but it doesn't have to be.

People have big feelings about abortion, which is understandable. On one hand, you have people who feel that abortion is a fundamental women's rights issue, that our bodily autonomy is not something you can legislate, and that those who oppose abortion rights are trying to control women through oppressive legislation. On the other, you have folks who believe that a fetus is a human individual first and foremost, that no one has the right to terminate a human life, and that those who support abortion rights are heartless murderers.

Then there are those of us in the messy middle. Those who believe that life begins at conception, that abortion isn't something we'd choose—and we'd hope others wouldn't choose—under most circumstances, yet who choose to vote to keep abortion legal.

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