SAN DIEGO - “It’s time!”
The call from a very pregnant Tiffany Rivers could come at any moment. It may even come this weekend, when her high school sweetheart-turned-husband is 2,300 miles away, performing his job for the San Diego Chargers.
The Rivers clan is about to reach 9 -- enough for a baseball team, and just a pair of twins short of a starting NFL unit. So what happens if Tiffany goes into labor for the seventh time while her husband is on the other side of the country?
“FaceTime,” Philip Rivers said this week, referring to the iPad app that would allow him to be in the delivery room from a continent away, assuming a strong WiFi signal. “Once in Jacksonville, I’m in Jacksonville.”
So Chargers fans don’t need to worry about the NFL’s No. 2 ranked quarterback in 2013 missing a start to witness the growth of his large family…but what would they say if Rivers did choose to take a paternity day, and leave the Bolts to fend for themselves against the Jaguars? Should professional athletes even be given the choice to miss a game for the birth of a child?
I posed the questions on my Facebook page. Almost everyone thought Rivers’ place was on the gridiron with his team:
“At about 750K per game, he needs to be on the field and just as important he must have his mind in the game and ready to go!” – Jason
“He already has 7. I am sure they all look the same coming out. She’ll live. We need to win football games. LOL” – Jessica
“They have experience at this thing. They can plan around the season. Play the game Philip!!!” – Jimmy
“Two words…Charlie Whitehurst. ‘Nuff said. Great decision to play, Phil.’ – Ron
It seems clear that Philip Rivers would be crushed in the court of public opinion if he chose to skip a game for the birth of his child. That may sound harsh, but consider it from a different perspective. 52 other guys are depending on Rivers to help them beat the Jaguars on Sunday. One win can be the difference between making the playoffs, or sitting home in January. Jobs…even careers…will be on the line at the end of the season.
You can even make the argument that playing, rather than sitting and holding his wife’s hand, is the noble choice. Football has given Rivers an opportunity to make tens of millions of dollars. We all make sacrifices based on our life choices. This is one sacrifice Philip has to make.
In a scientific 10News poll, we asked San Diegans whether they would agree with Rivers' choice to play in the game if it meant missing the birth of his child.
Forty-eight percent agreed, 32 percent disagreed and 20 percent said they were not sure.
But the results between men and women are striking.
Sixty-eight percent of men agree with Rivers playing, while only 29 percent of women think he's making the right choice.
Many also had plenty to say when 10News posed the question on Facebook.