Tim Thomas: Was it worth snubbing Obama and your teammates?

Like many who follow the sometimes entertaining shenanigans of the NHL, I was caught off guard by the whole Tim Thomas affair.

It’s not every day an ordinary hockey player, albeit a professional one, gives the finger to the President of the United States.

Way to go Timmy. You’ve made front page news from CNN to the CBC and managed to alienate your Bruin teammates and the man who signs your paycheques. All because you wanted to make a political statement.

Here’s Thomas’ explanation on his Facebook page:

“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,” he wrote on Monday night.

“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.”

Bruins' goaltender Tim Thomas' creates controversy by snubbing White House celebration of Boston's Stanley Cup win. Thomas posted a political protest on Facebook.

Far be it from us here at MHL to criticize anyone’s right to express their political views, even if they happen to be a bit on the extreme side. Democracy is the governing style of choice in good old North America so hey, fill your boots with whatever Tea Party tripe you want to express.

But dude, don’t expect your team and the public to warmly embrace your viewpoint. This is hockey – the epitome of a team game and yes, all hockey players suffer from groupthink to a certain extent. If one of the flock strays off on his own well, that’s his business.

But remember this: The only reason you were invited to this charming tradition of being feted by the President in his White House digs was because you are a member of the Boston Bruins. The reigning Stanley Cup champs – an achievement you were no small part of but that your fellow Bruins warriors also sacrificed alot, fighting tooth and nail to get. It was a team effort as the boys are prone to say.  

Bruins’ GM Peter Chiarelli said you have the right to your opinions and attendance at this particular team function wasn’t mandatory. You won’t be fined for skipping out on an afternoon of festivities hosted by Barack Obama. Wish I were so lucky.

At any rate you’ve shown yourself to be a man of principle. It must take some kinda staunch faith in your beliefs to pass up an invite like that.

That’s what a lot of people don’t get: Why couldn’t you set aside your political opinions for this special day and bask in the warm celebratory glow of your  teammates, bosses and the Prez? I mean, it sounds so… nice. Or maybe that was the point – having a big stage and all to air your views.  

It’s all so disappointing, Timmy.

Heck, even your ex-Bruin teammate Tomas Kaberle, who managed to contribute less to winning the cup than your nailed-to-the bench back-up, made the trip from Montreal on a day pass from the asylum.


I thought you were such a nice, affable guy. You speak and interview so well. A player with a great story of determination in realizing his late-blooming talent. The kind of guy you’d love to invite to a barbeque who’d play with your kids and dog.

Now, all I can think of is your silly Facebook words and ill-advised snub. It makes you appear a bit like one of those weirdos in a commando suit holed up in some Texas farmhouse, cursing the government. Sorry. Actions have consequences.   As a professional athlete playing on a team sport, the optics on this just don’t look that great.  

Unfortunately whatever excellent play you exhibit moving forward, I won’t quite be able to think of you in the same terms.

Thanks for wrecking another one of my illusions Timmy. 


About Rolf Sturm

Sportswriter & blogger, news writer, video journalist, photographer, podcaster
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One Response to Tim Thomas: Was it worth snubbing Obama and your teammates?

  1. Jack Horgan says:

    Actually, it’s you the liberal who doesn’t get it. You realize that Obama having the Bruins over at the White House was politically motivated, right? In case you don’t know how it works, I’ll help you out…A politician, any politician, wants to be associated with success and winners. In the USA, one easy way to do this is to have a photo opportunity with a championship baseball, football, basketball, hockey team, or Olympic winner. Thomas wasn’t going to be a party to this, wasn’t going to be used as a tool. But you see fit to bash his political right to protest a purely political event being disguised as a team celebration (By the way, I don’t totally believe Thomas’ motive explanation about “all” politicians. I believe he especially dislikes Obama, as I do). You know, of course, that Michael Jordan refused TWICE to visit a Republican White House, as did Red Sox GM Theo Epstein (who was actively campaigning for John Kerry at the time). But I, a conservative, didn’t mind. I understood what it was really all about. You don’t. In fact, It seems you are more into hockey, but I wonder if you ever even knew or cared about those snubs. I see you also swallow the left’s hatred of the Tea Party. Could you be more transparent? I’m a conservative, but not a Tea Party person, but even I know that all they want is less taxes and less government intrusion. That’s all. You really need some education. And one more thing, like all liberals you are a hypocrite, and thus you will see the movie GOON. When you are watching it you will remember me, and you will know that I know.

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