Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Tackling Paternity Leave

The pile of stories to get to is piling up, but I really have to post on this one, which is just wonderful. Daddy Types pointed me in the direction of Eric Butler, a Kansas University defensive tackle who is currently trying to get the NCAA to restore a year of eligibility for a year he took off to care for his newborn child.

It looks like Butler's fight is going poorly and that the NCAA's rules, when taken literally, don't give him much of an out. That's unfortunate, since the facts as I understand them make Butler out to be a real stand-up guy.

But I am thrilled that he made the case and pushed on this. I have been grilled by corporate HR offices on why, exactly, I was planning to take paternity leave, given that I wasn't, you know, giving birth. It's a sweaty-palms moment, and I can't say I enjoyed it. But this was an even bigger gut check for Butler, who had to make his case to an unsympathetic NCAA in full view of the country.

The response I've seen seems to be one of general sympathy for the guy, and though pyrrhic victories probably don't mean much to Butler -- he wants to be on the field practicing right now -- I have to believe that his fight has normalized (if only a little) the idea of men taking paternity leave. And I'll take all the help there that I can get.

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