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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.

Joy

1991 blooper clip of Robin Williams and Elmo is a wholesome nugget of comedic genius

Robin Williams is still bringing smiles to faces after all these years.

Robin Williams and Elmo (Kevin Clash) bloopers.

The late Robin Williams could make picking out socks funny, so pairing him with the fuzzy red monster Elmo was bound to be pure wholesome gold. Honestly, how the puppeteer, Kevin Clash, didn’t completely break character and bust out laughing is a miracle. In this short outtake clip, you get to see Williams crack a few jokes in his signature style while Elmo tries desperately to keep it together.

Williams has been a household name since what seems like the beginning of time, and before his death in 2014, he would make frequent appearances on "Sesame Street." The late actor played so many roles that if you were ask 10 different people what their favorite was, you’d likely get 10 different answers. But for the kids who spent their childhoods watching PBS, they got to see him being silly with his favorite monsters and a giant yellow canary. At least I think Big Bird is a canary.

When he stopped by "Sesame Street" for the special “Big Bird's Birthday or Let Me Eat Cake” in 1991, he was there to show Elmo all of the wonderful things you could do with a stick. Williams turns the stick into a hockey stick and a baton before losing his composure and walking off camera. The entire time, Elmo looks enthralled … if puppets can look enthralled. He’s definitely paying attention before slumping over at the realization that Williams goofed a line. But the actor comes back to continue the scene before Elmo slinks down inside his box after getting Williams’ name wrong, which causes his human co-star to take his stick and leave.

The little blooper reel is so cute and pure that it makes you feel good for a few minutes. For an additional boost of serotonin, check out this other (perfectly executed) clip about conflict that Williams did with the two-headed monster. He certainly had a way of engaging his audience, so it makes sense that even after all of these years, he's still greatly missed.

This article originally appeared on 08.21.18


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