When the Boston Bruins travelled to Washington on Monday to visit with President Barack Obama, the team was missing goaltender Tim Thomas. Thomas refused to attend the ceremony honoring the NHL Stanley Cup champions because he does not support the current administration he believes is “out of control.” The Tim Thomas White House snub has stirred up outrage from some who think should not have put his personal feelings above his team. Others, however, feel the Boston Bruins player was justified in expressing his personal feelings by bowing out of the event.
While the Boston Bruins were meeting President Barack Obama on Monday, goaltender Tim Thomas sat out the ceremony in protest. The Bruins goaltender posted a note to his Facebook page explaining his decision to abandon his teammates.
â€œI believe the Federal government has grown out of control, threatening the Rights, Liberties, and Property of the People. This is being done at the Executive, Legislative, and Judicial level,” Thomas said. “This is in direct opposition to the Constitution and the Founding Fathers vision for the Federal government. Because I believe this, today I exercised my right as a Free Citizen, and did not visit the White House. This was not about politics or party, as in my opinion both parties are responsible for the situation we are in as a country. This was about a choice I had to make as an INDIVIDUAL. This is the only public statement I will be making on this topic.â€
A number ofÂ fans and sports commentators responded with outrage over the Tim Thomas White House snub, denouncing the Bruins goaltender for putting himself above his team. On a day that should have been all about celebrating the success of the Bruins in a very public way, the spotlight was instead moved to focus on one team member’s political grandstanding.
Kevin Paul Dupont of the Boston Globe said the White House event was “not about politics and government until Thomas made it about politics and government” and called Thomas “Shabby. Immature. Unprofessional. Self-centered. Bush league. Need I go on? All that and more applies to what Thomas did…”
“You sure didn’t have any political objections when you wore the USA sweater or had that silver medal hung around your neck. Keep politics out of sports you jackwagon,” hockey fan Mike Dingell posted on Thomas’ Facebook page.
Supporters of the goaltender’s decision to opt out of the White House trip, however, say he had every right to exercise his right to free speech as a U.S. citizen. “The ability to tell the President that you’d rather hang out in your room at the Marriott rather than shake his hand at the White House is, when you really think about it, a fairly stunning example of what makes America great,” Boston WEEI sports radio columnist Kirk Minihane said.
“Thanks for your courage. The statement you made is 100% corect [sic] and hopefully it will motivate people to demand something better for this country,” fan Rob Fratus posted on Thomas’ Facebook feed.
Bruins General Manager Peter Chiarelli issued a press statement saying that Thomas’ position is not a reflection of the views of the team, but that he will not suspend the goaltender for refusing to participate in the White House ceremony.