Focus Falls On Tim Thomas During All-Star Draft For White House Decision
After being selected with the second pick by Team Chara in the NHL All-Star Fantasy Draft Thursday night, Bruins G Tim Thomas was interviewed by TSN’s James Duthie on-stage, where his decision to skip the Bruins' White House visit earlier this week was alluded to. Duthie said to Thomas, “Pretty uneventful week for you all in all.” Thomas replied, “Yeah, no problem.” Duthie asked, “Did you expect this whole thing to get so big?” Thomas: “I followed my conscience. I’m extremely grateful for all the support I’ve gotten from my teammates, fans and friends. I said in that statement that would be the only time I would be addressing that topic and we’re here in Ottawa to celebrate the game of hockey and I’m just extremely excited to be a part of that” (“NHL All-Star Game Fantasy Draft,” TSN, 1/26). In N.Y., Jeff Klein wrote there is a "good chance this NHL All-Star weekend may wind up being all about" Thomas. The kerfuffle surrounding Thomas’ "decision to skip his team’s visit to the White House earlier this week because of his political views simply won’t go away." Twice at Thursday’s All-Star draft, Thomas was "asked to talk about his rationale for skipping Monday’s visit, and twice he stood by his decision in terse but unmistakable terms. (NYTIMES.com, 1/26).
WEIGHING IN: Canucks G Cory Schneider said, "I have no problem with his personal beliefs, but (Thomas) can suck it up for an hour, say Hi and be with the team, and avoid all of this. Respect the (Presidency). He plays for Team USA and he has no problem making millions of dollars in the USA but he can't go say Hi to the President. You get a lot of benefits living in the US and he should have little bit of respect for that." In Boston, Eric Wilbur wrote where we "have to draw the line is with how [Thomas is] making his organization look." The Bruins have been "put in an unfair situation with Thomas's constitutional rights hanging over their heads" (BOSTON.com, 1/25). YAHOO SPORTS' Nicholas Cotsonika wrote, "You can stand behind the president in the White House without standing behind him on principle." Cotsonika: "If Thomas can't make that distinction, then frankly I question his critical thinking. I'm glad he lives in a free country where he can express his views, but if he wants to influence hearts and minds, he should pick a more appropriate time and place to express them" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 1/26). In N.Y., Pat Leonard wrote there are "certainly citizens who will applaud Thomas for exercising his right to free speech, and no one wishes to take it away." But Thomas' "actions were shortsighted" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 1/26).
SHIPPING OUT? In Boston, Stephen Harris asks, "Could Tim Thomas' political protest end up costing him his spot on the Bruins?" Even before Thomas’ "ill-advised stunt, the possibility existed that Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli might face a difficult and profoundly important decision this summer on the netminder, who turns 38 this April and has just one year remaining on his contract." Thomas’ decision to "snub the White House and then release an anti-big government manifesto was an embarrassment for the team and no doubt angered the front office and ownership greatly" (BOSTON HERALD, 1/27).