Boston Bruins goalie Tim Thomas had every right to do what he did.
But that doesn’t make what he did right.
The Boston Bruins were honored at the White House on Monday afternoon for winning the Stanley Cup last June. It was the Bruins’ first Cup in 39 years.
Thomas was the standout goalie on that team. He was the only current team member not to show up for the ceremony. Two former teammates who have retired since June made the trip. One of the two former teammates who is now with another team made the trip (the other former teammate couldn’t because of travel).
Making it appear worse is that Thomas is also one of only two Americans on that championship team.
But Thomas did not break any team rules because the Bruins did not make the trip mandatory (maybe because they didn’t think they had to).
However, once word spread that Thomas had no intention of going, general manager Peter Chiarelli tried convincing him to change his mind. When Thomas stuck to his decision the organization and all of his teammates essentially said, “We don’t have his back on this one, so you talk to him.”
Thomas posted a statement on Facebook:
“I 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. This is in direct opposition to the Constitution and 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.”
Tim, we should take you at your word, that this was not done as a specific protest of this president but as a protest of the government as a whole. Fine. But how can you say “this was not about politics?”
It was all about politics!
Because if it was about being a good teammate, you would have gone. If it was about representing your organization, you would have gone.
You put them in an awkward spot when the president rightly made note of your spectacular play during the playoffs, “and (Tim Thomas) earned the honor of being only the second American ever to be recognized as the Stanley Cup playoffs MVP.”
Tim, no one should question your patriotism. You are a proud American and have represented this nation in international competition many times over the years. You are admired as a well-spoken, educated and very thoughtful man.
Which is what makes what you did all the more stupefying.
Monday afternoon was about the Boston Bruins, not Tim Thomas. You put yourself above the team. You injected politics where it didn’t belong.
In other words, you did exactly what you are criticizing those in government of doing.
Tim, you were wrong. You don’t owe the president anything, but you do owe your teammates and the organization an apology.
Hopefully if you win another Cup (and considering this team looks better than last year’s) next time you’ll go to the White House.
Because as you know there is no “I” in team.
But there is one in ill-timed, misguided, stupid, selfish, idiotic and mistake.
If nothing else, you certainly highlighted the one in Tim Thomas.