SBD/January 30, 2012/Franchises

Bruins Owner Jacobs Supports Tim Thomas' Right To Opt Out Of White House Ceremony

Jacobs does not agree with Thomas' views, but feels he has right to express himself
Bruins Owner Jeremy Jacobs Saturday said that he "supported" G Tim Thomas' right to "feel and say what he believes," according to Steve Conroy of the BOSTON HERALD. Jacobs' statement was his first public comment following Thomas' decision to skip the team's White House visit last Monday in honor of its '10-11 Stanley Cup win. Jacobs said of Thomas, "He’s done his job very well for us, and I’m totally behind him. I don’t necessarily agree with his political views, but that’s not what he does for me. And I’ve got to say this: While I don’t agree with it, I certainly feel he has the right to express himself as every American does, and he does a good job" (BOSTON HERALD, 1/29). In N.Y., Larry Brooks wrote the Bruins "handled Thomas’ absence perfectly." It would have been a "practical impossibility to 'force' the recalcitrant goaltender to attend the ceremony and no doubt would have provoked a confrontation with the NHLPA had the club suspended Thomas for failing to join the team function." Brooks: "Thomas made his point. The Bruins made theirs by responding to a difficult situation with dignity befitting a champion" (N.Y. POST, 1/29). In Boston, Kevin Paul Dupont cited two Bruins execs as saying that they "would have mandated that Thomas appear at the White House with the Bruins, defining it as a team meeting." One exec said that he "would not be surprised to see the Bruins cut him free this summer in the two-week buyout period leading to July 1 free agency." Dupont also noted the Bruins face the Senators tomorrow night in Boston and if "some in the Garden crowd remain stewed" over the White House incident, it "might be in coach Claude Julien's interest to go with Tuukka Rask Tuesday and again Thursday with the Hurricanes in town." That would leave Thomas "well-rested, and perhaps a dozen or so news cycles removed from his hell-no-I-won't-go stand, to face the Penguins" in Boston on Saturday (BOSTON GLOBE, 1/29).  

REACTION CONTINUES: Thomas said Friday of the response to his decision, "It's all media driving right now, and has been from the start." He added, "Everything that I said and did was as an individual, not as a representative of the Boston Bruins." In Toronto, Dave Feschuk noted the "problem, just one of many in Thomas's line of illogic, is that this ongoing matter has everything to do with the Boston Bruins" (TORONTO STAR, 1/28). In Toronto, Steve Simmons noted Thomas "wasn’t personally invited to The White House. The Stanley Cup champion Bruins were." Simmons: "This is not, as some people have made it, comparable to the politics of Muhammad Ali. This was a stance of little relevance and Thomas’ statement to explain his position had no mention of his team or his teammates, brushing them aside" (TORONTO SUN, 1/29). In Detroit, Drew Sharp writes because White House team championship ceremonies "generally are apolitical, Thomas' actions disrespected the office, not the man" (DETROIT FREE PRESS, 1/30). In Denver, Adrian Dater wrote, "The more I've thought about it, the more I think 'who cares?' about Tim Thomas' one-man boycott of the White House last week." Dater: "At first, I thought it was a slap in the face of his teammates. As time went by, I thought his teammates couldn't care less about it" (DENVER POST, 1/29).
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