Sports fans in Boston and around the country are disappointed with Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas decision for not showing up at the White House honoring the Black and Gold for their Stanley Cup Championship. This statement by the goaltender may have cost him iconic status after his MVP performance in the Stanley Cup last year.
Thomas responded on his Facebook page with the following statement regarding why he was skipping out on the trip.
"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 indirect 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"
It can be argued that the event is a tradition and not a political one but it is a photo-op with the President which publicizes him as well as the government, something Thomas stated he is not happy with. Let's not forget there were Senators, Congressman and even the Mayor of Boston at the ceremony. Any television or radio exposure for an event like this is free publicity for them, especially in an election year.
Thomas exercised his right of free speech which as he pointed out our founding fathers fought hard to grant us as a nation. Without these rights we could be a totally different country.
Could he have been clearer in his statement, sure, but as an American he has the right to keep his exact political beliefs and party support to himself. Just to get anything from him is a plus. He could have just declined and said no comment.
As for people that say he could have made a statement by showing up at the event and expressing his displeasure to the President and political people involved, do you really believe they would let Thomas get up and have a debate with the President in front of the cameras? Even if he had a few minutes to discuss his displeasure with him in private it may have not satisfied him. It's realistic to think a few minutes with Obama would have eased his concerns. This is all speculation, but the most likely answer is that it wouldn't have.
Furthermore, he may not have wanted to get into an argument with the President in front of his teammates and friends. Fans are upset now, but if that happened it would have definitely hurt his reputation and possibly his legacy with fans.
Whichever party he supports should have no bearing on his decision. If he states both parties are the cause, then he should be taken at his word. Everyone knows the House and Senate are run by opposite parties and the President is a Democrat.
He should be commended for making a platform and standing on his beliefs. Too many people talk a good game but do not follow up with their ideas and dislikes about how the country is run. There are two ways you can make a difference in the process: speaking up and voting.
If you look at the numbers, there are over 311 million people in the United States according to the latest census and only forty percent of them voted in the historic election four years ago. That should tell you something about where we are as a country and why Thomas' decision to make a stand makes sense.
If there were more people that made statements about what direction the country is heading, then we may be a stronger country. It can take thousands of people to make a statement and get the government's attention. Sometimes a stance by someone of Thomas' stature can go a longer ways towards a resolution and making the country better.
It is not directly on the same par, but during the Vietnam War, Muhammad Ali also refused to go to the White House.
The fact remains this great country has been on a downward spiral for years thanks to a poor economy and questionable decisions by both parties over the years.
Finally, Thomas' reputation maybe be diluted because he was not there to support his teammates, but isn't it a double standard? Players play on the ice as a solid team, so why can't that be the same off the ice especially when you hear so players saying "We are like a family?"
His reputation may take a hit, which is unfortunate because of his iconic status in the city of Boston. However, Thomas won't be the last athlete to pass on this type of opportunity. Maybe his actions will drive home the message with a few
people, no matter what party they are affiliated with.