BOSTON (CBS) — Long-time listeners of the Felger & Massarotti program know that host Michael Felger is not a fan of anyone having any time off — ever. Whether it’s leaving the office early on a Friday before a holiday, or taking extra days off surrounding holidays, the work-a-holic Felger has made his stance known for years.
Yet this week, many non-listeners of the program became aware of Felger’s opinion as it related to Al Horford missing Monday night’s Celtics game in order to be with his wife after she had delivered their second child. Felger suggested that, considering the baby was born on Sunday afternoon, Horford could have hopped on a private jet from Atlanta (where the baby was born) on Monday afternoon, taken the quick flight to Miami (where the Celtics were playing), and then flown back to Atlanta after the game to be with his wife.READ MORE: Brockton High School Adds Metal Detectors, Bag Searches To Updated Safety Precautions
This opinion ended up taking the world by storm, thanks in large part to Horford’s sister tweeting an angry message about Felger. That led to the story being covered by Sports Illustrated, Yahoo, Awful Announcing, the New York Daily News, Deadspin, USA Today, Complex, Uproxx, and it even appeared on an Australian news site.
Considering all of the attention, Felger finally addressed the situation on Wednesday evening.
“I’ve been doing this thing with the paternity leave for years. I’ve had this one for years,” said Felger, who noted he made similar comments about Red Sox players Craig Breslow and Jackie Bradley missing time on paternity leave. “I do it a lot. I’ve felt this way for a while. So I don’t know, this one had legs. God bless that it did. I think Horford’s sister lit it up, I guess. So either way, oh, are people pissed off. My God. So pissed off.”
Felger said he stands by everything he said “100 percent,” with the lone exception of his choice of wording when referring to a childbirth as “generic.”
“I have nothing to take back or apologize for. And that’s rare for me. Usually I have a measure of regret and I want to take something back. Not this one,” Felger said. “I really don’t.”
He added: “People say it was the hot take machine, like that was some sort of hot take. I don’t feel it was a hot take. First of all, it was a 90-second take in a 30-minute TV show, so it’s not like I made a big deal of it. It’s really not that hot of a take to say you were there for the childbirth, the next day you pop out for a few hours to go to work, and then come back to the hospital. That’s like, the lukewarmest take — that just doesn’t feel like a hot take to me. … That’s all that was said.”
He then set out to clear up some misconceptions.
“This is the one I get the most. [Someone] emailed in and said, ‘I am disgusted that you would assume any woman’s childbirth is routine enough to where a father should miss it.’ He’s saying that I said that Horford should miss the childbirth. I never said he should miss the childbirth. People have said this, that I said that he should have gone to the game instead of being there for the childbirth. He was there for the childbirth. He was there in the days leading up to the childbirth, he was there for the childbirth, he was there for a full day after the childbirth. I’m not talking about leaving the childbirth. I’m talking about leaving that two, three-day period in the hospital after the childbirth.”
Felger then noted that his opinion has nothing to do with Horford personally.READ MORE: Rain Returns, Heavy Tuesday With Threat Of Flooding And Damaging Winds
“People have said I’ve been ripping Al Horford? I never ripped Al Horford. It’s not personal about Al Horford. He feels like, actually, a pretty classy guy. He seems like a nice, level-headed, professional guy,” Felger said. “I feel like he’s a class act. It’s not about him. I bring this up most of the time when we get into this situation. Craig Breslow, Jackie Bradley Jr., you name it. Like, it’s not about Al Horford. It has nothing to do with Al Horford. He feels like a good guy.”
Felger also rejected the notion that he said anything bad about Horford’s sister.
“In fact, we praised her tweet,” Felger said. “I liked her turn of a phrase. I thought that was a neat way to say it.”
Felger then noted that Horford ended up spending the same amount of time with his wife as Felger had suggested himself.
“Furthermore, he showed up [to Celtics practice on Tuesday]. He left [the hospital on Tuesday morning]. I said he should have left Monday night and come back. I said leave Monday night and come back, and I’m the devil. Yet he left Tuesday morning, and didn’t come back. So explain to me why I’m getting picketed and why I’m the devil when it was the difference of about eight hours. That’s insane. He left his wife Tuesday morning. Does that make him a bad father? I said he should leave Monday night. You tell me the difference. This whole thing is banana land. This thing is absurd.”
Ultimately, Felger made the case for a work-life balance.
“I put a heavy priority on work, and supporting the people that you work with,” Felger said. “I think there is a virtue also to upholding your responsibilities to the people you work with. And that’s a good thing, too. That’s not above family … but can you put it right underneath it? Can you try to do both if you can do both?”
Felger then turned the tables in a hypothetical situation where Horford did indeed play in Monday night’s game vs. the Heat.
“You’re such frauds, you Green Teamers,” Felger said. “If Al Horford had done what I suggested and leave the hospital on a private plane at 5 o’clock and go play the game and fly back and be by his wife’s side and left his wife for the six hours it would’ve taken to go do this, do you know what you would say about him? ‘What a team guy. This guy puts team above everything. What a Celtic — this is what a true Celtic does.‘ You would be celebrating the guy. You wouldn’t call him a bad father. You would say he’s the ultimate professional and ultimate Celtic and winner. ‘This is what winners do!‘ You wouldn’t call him a bad father. So you’re all frauds.”
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