The Bruins yesterday were honored at the White House for winning the '10-11 Stanley Cup, but G Tim Thomas "chose not to attend the ceremony," according to Fluto Shinzawa of the BOSTON GLOBE. Thomas on his Facebook page wrote, "I believe the federal government has grown out of control, threatening the rights, liberties, and property of the people. ... This was not about politics or party, as in my opinion, both parties are responsible for the situation we are in as a country." Bruins President Cam Neely in a statement said, "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." Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli "spoke with Thomas several times about attending the ceremony over the last few months." Chiarelli said, "I'm not suspending Tim. Whatever his position is, it isn't reflective of the Boston Bruins or my own. But I'm not suspending him" (BOSTON GLOBE, 1/24). In N.Y., Bernie Augustine notes Thomas "has made political statements in the past, and has sported the Gadsden flag -- which has been adopted as a symbol of the Tea Party movement -- on the back of his mask at times" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 1/24). In Boston, Wedge & Harris note Thomas "wears a helmet adorned with the patriotic slogan 'Don't Tread on Me' and is a fan of conservative pundit Glenn Beck" (BOSTON HERALD, 1/24). ESPN BOSTON's Joe McDonald wrote it was "odd that Thomas chose this stage to make a statement by not attending the White House visit with the rest of his teammates, especially given the fact that he is one of only two Americans on the Cup-winning team." His decision "will no doubt spark a massive debate," as he is a "fan favorite." His absence from the ceremony "will have a lasting effect on his boy-next-door image" (ESPNBOSTON.com, 1/23). Bruins C Chris Kelly said, “Obviously we knew Timmy wasn’t there, but we still didn’t let that disrupt our day. We still had a great day and it was about us meeting the President and getting a chance to see the White House” (“NESN Daily,” NESN, 1/23).
MISSED OPPORTUNITY: In Boston, Margery Eagan writes Thomas' decision not visit the White House was "embarrassing and classless" (BOSTON HERALD, 1/24). Also in Boston, Kevin Paul Dupont writes, "Shabby. Immature. Unprofessional. Self-centered. Bush league. ... All that and more applies to what Thomas did" (BOSTON GLOBE, 1/24). NBC News Chief Medical Editor Dr. Nancy Snyderman said, “This is not about the person that is there for four or eight years, this is the office of the Presidency. It is just rude not to go” ("Today," NBC, 1/24). The BOSTON HERALD's Wedge & Harris note "Tim Thomas" became a "trending topic on Twitter and Democrats hammered him, including lefty pundit Keith Olbermann, who fired off a tweet calling the goalie a 'fool'" (BOSTON HERALD, 1/24). The Toronto Sun's Steve Simmons wrote on his Twitter account, "Tim Thomas can believe politically whatever he wants. It's my belief he should have been with his team at the White House." The Toronto Star's Damien Cox: "Gotta say, really quite disappointing to learn Tim Thomas is, well, apparently a crackpot. This sure adds an element to all-star weekend." Yahoo Sports' Jeff Passan: "Is it too late for Tim Thomas to join the Republican presidential field? U.S.-born, older than 35 and just as loopy as the rest of 'em." The N.Y. Post's Larry Brooks: "Please. Let's not turn Tim Thomas' act of political opportunism into some sort of noble exercise."
FREE TO DECIDE: THE HOCKEY NEWS' Ken Campbell wrote, "Thomas's politics don't even matter here. What does is that Thomas exercised his right to be a conscientious dissenter and the Bruins showed a lot of maturity by accepting his decision and not using strong-arm tactics to force him to go by threatening to suspend him" (THEHOCKEYNEWS.com, 1/23). ESPN.com's Rick Reilly wrote on Twitter, "To the writers who ripped Tim Thomas for refusing 2 go 2 Obama's White House: Isn't that what the White House represents? Freedom to choose?" FoxSports.com's Tracy Ringolsby: "Kudos to Tim Thomas. If your feelings are that strong, whether I agree, I respect you for standing up for what you believe in." NBC's Luke Russert: "Tim Thomas getting a lot of support for snubbing Obama at WH." The N.Y. Times' Chris Botta: "Tim Thomas wanted people talking about his politics and Tim Thomas. Mission Accomplished."