Boomer Esiason apologized - early and often - on his WFAN show Friday morning for comments he made two days earlier regarding Daniel Murphy's paternity leave from the Mets.
Esiason was not the only critic of paternity leave for ballplayers on sports talk radio - and among fans on social media - but nothing in the debate caused as much controversy as his suggestion that if it were him he would have had his wife schedule a C-section before Opening Day.
Here is what Esiason said shortly after the show began after 6 a.m.:
"I want to say again on this radio show that in no way shape or form was I advocating anything for anybody to do, was not telling women what to do with their bodies. I would never do that. That’s their decisions. That’s their life and they know their bodies better than I do.
"And the other thing that I felt really bad about it is that Daniel Murphy and Tori Murphy were dragged into a conversation and their whole life was exposed and it shouldn’t have been and that is my fault. That is my fault for uttering the word 'C-section' on this radio station and it all of a sudden put their lives under a spotlight, and for that I truly apologize.
"I reached out to Daniel through intermediaries over there at the Mets, and to his credit, he answered all of the questions yesterday. I’m sorry he had to go through that. No man should have to go through that, and certainly Daniel Murphy who we both [Esiason and co-host Craig Carton] admire as a baseball player as much as anybody else.
"All I can say is I truly, truly feel terrible about what I put them through, so for that I certainly apologize."
When Carton asked Esiason whether he had made contact with Murphy Thursday, he said, "I spoke with [Mets p.r. man] Jay Horwitz and was texting back and forth with [COO] Jeff Wilpon. I can’t speak for Daniel. I think he wants to put everything behind him. He wants to try to play baseball, he wants to try to become a dad, he wants to try to do all the right things in life and he has every right to do that.
"And like I said, I apologize for putting him and his wife in the midst of a public discussion that I basically started by uttering insensitive comments that came off very insensitive and for that I apologize and that’s really all I can do.
"The other thing I want to say is that our friends over at the March of Dimes also reached out to me yesterday and I talked to them and they kind of re-educated me on their mission statement and you and I have been a part of the March of Dimes luncheon for many years and I go all the way back to 1994 with them and they were very gracious in re-educating me and making me understand what their mission statement was and I believe wholeheartedly in their mission statement and I can only hope that people understand that my flippant comment wasn’t meant in any way, shape or form to insult anybody, but obviously it did and for that I am truly sorry.
"I feel terrible for the Murphy family because what should be the greatest time in their life turned out to be somewhat of a firestorm that I personally put them into and for that hopefully they can find forgiveness in their hearts."
At 8:40 a.m., the show re-played Esiason's "CBS Sports Minute," an essay that is aired nationally. In it he said this:
"My deep apologies to both Daniel and Tori Murphy for creating an intrusion into a very sacred and personal moment in their lives. That’s the birth of their son, Noah. Daniel is the Mets second baseman whose brief paternity leave led to a flippant and insensitive remark that I sincerely regret.
"Meantime I’m very grateful to my many friends over at the March of Dimes who graciously reached out and re-educated me that if a pregnancy is healthy then it’s medically beneficial to let the labor begin on its own rather than to schedule a C-section for convenience.
"In fact, babies born just a few weeks early have double the risk of death compared to babies born after 39 full weeks of pregnancy. As their promotional campaign says: Healthy babies are worth the wait. As a proud father, I couldn’t agree more. I’m Boomer Esiason."
After the replay of the "CBS Sports Minute," Esiason added this:
"Like I said earlier this morning and I’ll say it again and I’ll say it probably many times over: You make a mistake behind a microphone, you own up to it. It’s yours. I can’t back down from it. I can only hope that people understand that I realize that I did make a mistake and one of the biggest parts of that mistake was putting Daniel and Tori Murphy in a very bad spot and I never meant to do that."