The Boston Bruins with President Obama
I had a co-worker a couple of years back who was one of the nicest guys you’d ever meet. Friendly, genial, helpful. And every once in a while he’d go off on a diatribe about liberals that would make anyone near him raise an eyebrow, if not two.
I have a notion that’s how it is with the Boston Bruins and their teammate Tim Thomas.
If my co-workers and I were invited to the White House, I have no doubt whatsoever that my aforementioned co-worker would decline the invitation, and none of us would be surprised. According to media reports, Bruins’ management was aware that Thomas would not attend the White House reception for the Stanley Cup champs on Jan. 23, but the players were not. But it’s almost impossible to believe that they didn’t see it coming.
Here’s the statement from Thomas:
“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 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. TT”
and the statement from the Bruins:
“As an organization we were honored by President Obama’s invitation to the White House. It was a great day and a perfect way to cap our team’s achievement from last season. It was a day that none of us will soon forget. We are disappointed that Tim chose not to join us, and his views certainly do not reflect those of the Jacobs family or the Bruins organization. This will be the last public comment from the Bruins organization on this subject.”
Full disclosure: I am a dyed-in-the-wool liberal. And I adhere to Voltaire’s dictum: “I may not agree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”
That said, it was not the time nor the place for Thomas to make a political statement. An invitation to the White House is an honor that should be accepted no matter who’s in charge. We’re not talking about canoodling with Robert Mugabe or Momar Ghadafi here. This is the president of the United States – OUR United States (Tim Thomas is an American); I was no fan of George W. Bush, but I know he’s an inherently decent human being who was doing the best job he could, and if he invited me and my co-workers to visit, I’d put politics aside and visit.
(And for those who wish to point out that Theo Epstein didn’t visit when Bush was in office and the Red Sox were invited, he was wrong too.)
What really bothers me about this whole stramash, however, is not Thomas’s politics (though really, if you want to live in a country with boundless freedom and no taxation, I hear Somalia is the perfect place), it’s the fact that he called attention to himself on a day that was meant to honor and celebrate his team. That’s a selfish, self-centered act, and is absolutely contrary to what the Bruins stand for.
And for that, I’m disappointed in Tim Thomas.
(Photo courtesy of Getty Images)