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Thomas Still Dealing With His White House Decision

from Bruce Arthur of the National Post,

Tim Thomas waded through the crowd and sat in the shaky folding director’s chair behind the podium, in a room swimming with fellow NHL all-stars and media, and managed an easy smile. “I can’t believe this chair held Z,” he said, referring to his looming teammate, Zdeno Chara. He gave a little laugh.

That was pretty much the end of the fun, even in this most frivolous of weekends. As the rest of the available NHL constellation sat and talked with ease, the usually affable Thomas chose his words with great care, pausing to stare into the middle distance, and tried to hole himself up in the edifice he had created this week by skipping Boston’s Stanley Cup visit to the White House and releasing a libertarian political message on his Facebook page. Now, Thomas clearly wants the whole thing to go away.

“I think it should. I think it should,” Thomas said. “Why? Because it’s all media-driven right now. It has been from the start. And everything that I said and did was as an individual, not as a representative of the Boston Bruins. It … all it has to do is with me. But it’s separate from hockey. That’s my personal life. Those are my personal views. Those are my personal beliefs. It has nothing to do with hockey. It has nothing to do with this All-Star Game. And it has nothing to do with the Boston Bruins.”

That is an entanglement that seems impossible to break. It was, after all, a team event, and as Thomas has refused to expand on or defend his beliefs in detail — “I followed my conscience,” he said Thursday night after the NHL all-star draft — his teammates and coach and general manager have been asked to explain his actions, and how they might affect the team. As David Shoalts of The Globe and Mail asked Chara before the draft, “Zdeno, you said you won’t be picking all right-wingers. Does this mean you won’t be picking Tim Thomas?” As one Bruins team source told The Boston Globe’s Fluto Shinzawa, “[Expletive] selfish [expletive].”

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, Boston Bruins, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: tim+thomas

Comments

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Yup, not a big deal.

Posted by Iggy_Rules on 01/28/12 at 01:21 PM ET

Savage Henry's avatar

Yes, if Tim Thomas can square this with his teammates, then it’s not anybody else’s business.  The last thing he is obligated to do is to debate or justify his beliefs to the hockey press.  Or to the President, for that matter.  The President works for the American people, not the other way around.

I’d be more inclined to expect the courtesy of attendance if Obama was a hockey fan, especially if he were a big Bruins fan, but since he’s been a DC resident for 3 years now and hasn’t bothered to attend one game (I don’t know about his years in Chicago) that doesn’t seem to be the case.

Posted by Savage Henry on 01/28/12 at 01:30 PM ET

goon's avatar

I was wondering why the sports media is still grinding on about this? This can’t be that important of a story to keep trying to drag this thing out.

Posted by goon from Grand Forks, ND on 01/28/12 at 02:03 PM ET

HockeyTownTodd's avatar

Tim Thomas is a United States citizen, born and raised in the US.
It certainly would be only fair if the only criticism posted here, or quoted, in the articles came from his peers that are citizens and registered voters.  There are certain rights that we as individuals believe should not be compromised.

Posted by HockeyTownTodd on 01/28/12 at 02:23 PM ET

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I don’t think this is media generated any more than fan engagement in professional sports teams is in and of itself. I’m a Bruins fan, and I want to know how the team is reacting. Remember how much talk there was in Boston when Ference criticized Paille after his suspension last year? Or when Seguin was sat after the breakfast? Fans want to know about anything that reflects on the inner workings of the team, especially when there is a hint of discord. Snubbing a team event at the White House is a hint of discord.

Look, for me it’s not about Thomas’s politics. It’s about wanting to know how well the team gets along, especially in the context of an aging number 1 whose expensive contract might impact the resigning of the up-and-coming 1A. If you want to criticize media and fans for being interested in that, we might as well stop following professional hockey. I’d save a hell of a lot of money that way….

But I’m still spending the money, and I’m still interested in the hockey team I support, so I’ve been following this debate closely. Thomas’s comments seem to be wishful thinking.

Saying that a political action was apolitical does not make it so.
Saying that an action affecting the team was an individual (excuse me, INDIVIDUAL) action does not make it so.
Saying that an a controversy is generated by the media does not make it so.

Man, you had to know—and the Bruins should have made sure you knew before carrying out your plan to boycott the event—that there would be interest and criticism. How can this reaction possibly be a surprise?

Posted by Ken on 01/28/12 at 02:49 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

Look, for me it’s not about Thomas’s politics. It’s about wanting to know how well the team gets along, especially in the context of an aging number 1 whose expensive contract might impact the resigning of the up-and-coming 1A. If you want to criticize media and fans for being interested in that, we might as well stop following professional hockey. I’d save a hell of a lot of money that way….

What about the idea of the observer effect?

What if demanding that the media dig deep into how the Bruins get along is something that makes them get along less?

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 01/28/12 at 02:53 PM ET

Avatar

Todd, there is no difference between registered voters and other citizens except the obvious one the registered voters can vote. Furthermore, the rights enumerated in the Bill of Rights are rights to freedom of coercion by the government, not a right to be insulated from criticism from private citizens.

I’m an American citizen, and a registered voter. Does that somehow make my opinion more valid?

Posted by Ken on 01/28/12 at 02:53 PM ET

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(I promise, last comment!)

JJ, of course you’re right that the presence of observers must have some kind of effect, especially when the “observers” are actually professionally trained in asking questions until they receive some interesting gossip. Well-sourced gossip with news value, but still, basically, gossip.

What will that effect be? Well, as Ference said to several reporters including Joe Haggerty, not much has changed in the dressing room. They know now that Thomas has libertarian political beliefs, but they knew that before. Any anger that his teammates might have could be directed at Thomas for exercising his individual rights with such vigor in a team context—or the anger might be directed at the media for asking questions. Consider, too, that for these guys constant nagging media questions are part of the job, part of the background music.

But then, when I was a kid, I also wanted to open the oven to look at the cake my mother was baking. I knew that opening the door would lower the heat and prevent the cake from rising properly, but my curiosity was too intense to be held back. Not smart, huh? Maybe you’re right and I’m doing the same thing with my beloved hockey team.

Posted by Ken on 01/28/12 at 03:02 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

Posted by Ken on 01/28/12 at 12:02 PM ET

That’s fair enough.  Obviously, the entire concept is that while these guys are private citizens, there’s much less an expectation to privacy for them based on their career choice.  If Tim Thomas wants to be left completely alone, then his choice would be to leave the sport of hockey.

I don’t particularly like a lot of the editorializing that sneaks into the coverage, but that’s true of just about all media coverage.  Ultimately, I don’t blame the media for asking the questions and I don’t blame the fans for wanting the questions asked. I just wanted to gauge your stance on the idea of how much that does affect things.  Thanks.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 01/28/12 at 03:14 PM ET

Avatar

You can’t take a stand, and then decide you don’t want to talk about it. While I disagreed with his opinions, I was with Thomas’ right to express them the way he did. But if he is going to coward off now, then it’s a become a joke.

Posted by Chris from Ottawa on 01/28/12 at 04:34 PM ET

tuxedoTshirt's avatar

RAGE-POST!!!!  BLAR LET’S FIGHT….......
Okay sorry guys, that was last week.  Totally over it.

I was wondering why the sports media is still grinding on about this? This can’t be that important of a story to keep trying to drag this thing out.

Posted by goon from Grand Forks, ND on 01/28/12 at 11:03 AM ET

I think the main reason might be to sell newspapers.  I wouldn’t expect to hear the last of it for a long time.  Much like in the movie industry, it is easier to repeat and rehash than pick up on the millions of other possibilities.

Posted by tuxedoTshirt from the Home of the 1937 World Champions on 01/28/12 at 05:24 PM ET

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I’m more upset about Ference preaching his global warming propaganda. And BTW, Bruce Arthur of The National Post is a huge Obama lover, as well as being Canada’s worst sports-writer by far.

Posted by Big Al on 01/28/12 at 10:10 PM ET

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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

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