Kukla's Korner

Iced Coffey

How about taking one for the team, Tim?

Look, goalies always have been a tad “different, so is it shocking that Tim Thomas opted not to visit the White House the other day with the Boston Bruins? No. And truth be told I could really care less if Thomas went or not. I’m fairly certain the rest of the Bruins players, coaches and staff enjoyed what had to be a special day. Regardless if you’re a Democrat, Republican, independent or whatever, it must be pretty cool to get a special tour of the White House and meet the President.

And I’m also pretty sure President Barack Obama didn’t give a tinker’s cuss if Tim Thomas was there or not. He has far bigger fish to fry than to worry about a recalcitrant goaltender.

But what happened to the concept of taking one for the team? And what of civility in general?

Thanks to freedom of speech in the United States, an awful lot of us have been able to make livings in journalism and everyone can make his or her opinion known. So I’m all for Thomas speaking his mind. And his thoughts about the government are not without merit or discussion. Here is his Facebook statement.

“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.

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.

This is the only public statement I will be making on this topic. TT”

There is no gag order on Tim Thomas, except his self-imposed one. But sorry Tim, by creating a tempest in a teapot by skipping the visit, posting your reasons on Facebook, and then declining all comment on the situation you created is ill-advised at best and disingenuous at worst. If you have the courage of your convictions, that’s great. If you have strong opinions, equally great. Folks generally don’t like to hear about religion (see Tim Tebow) or politics (now see Tim Thomas) in sports, but that shouldn’t muzzle anyone either.

Still, Thomas has been around the world of microphones and newspaper notebooks long enough to know that taking a stand like he did wasn’t going to just go away. He already has explained his political feelings, be it Tea Party, Garden Party or Birthday Party, so how about explaining why his responsibilities to his teammates took a back seat to shining the spotlight on himself? He had to know that was the likely outcome.

Being a part of a team means you give up a bit of yourself for the betterment of the group. Now keep in mind that probably every player on the Bruins at one point in his playing career was the best guy on the ice, be it squirts, bantams, juniors, etc. But guys sacrifice the ego that comes with being a top athlete to be part of a team. If that means playing five minutes in a game, so be it. So, would it really have been that distasteful to take the tour and pose for a photo? Heck, he could have told the President his views in person!

The Bruins have been pretty supportive of Thomas in the wake of his decision, so he is fortunate there and it sounds like everyone enjoyed the opportunity to celebrate the Stanley Cup championship one more time.

“It is what it is,” Bruins winger Milan Lucic told the Boston Globe. “I don’t think it really matters what I think about it. I still enjoyed the day and took part in the opportunity. I know the other guys that were there had a lot of fun. It’s something that I, personally, will remember for the rest of my life.”

As with everything else, this too will blow over. The Bruins will focus on repeating as Stanley Cup champs and Thomas will play a big role in that effort. Maybe it’s just a case of a goalie being different, but you can’t help but think it also could be a case of a player being selfish and creating a situation that could easily have been avoided.

Double standard?—Where’s the “other” suspension? The one Alex Ovechkin figured to get for skipping the All-Star Game. Didn’t Nick Lidstrom and Pavel Datsyuk in essence earn one-game suspensions for skipping the All-Star Game a while back? How come Ovechkin gets to skate by not skating this time?

I’m not blaming Ovechkin, who was suspended for three games for a hit on Pittsburgh’s Zbynek Michalek the other night? You can see where he isn’t of a mind to do the NHL a favor by appearing in the all-star festivities on the heels of a suspension he doesn’t think he deserves.

“My heart is not there. I got suspended, so why (do) I have to go there?” he told reporters Tuesday. “I love the (All-Star) game. It’s a great event. I love to be there.”

But ...

“I feel I’m not deserving to be there right now,” Ovechkin said. “If I’m suspended, I have to be suspended.”

Ovechkin has made the All-Star Game and the skills competition fun. He isn’t above doing goofy things and trying wild passes and shots in a format that cries out for more fun stuff. He is one of the faces that sells the NHL brand and to not have him there makes the whole exercise all the more trivial.

And, he’s not suspended for the All-Star Game. So, in essence, he got his revenge for the suspension by hurting the league at its annual gathering of sponsors and partners. But back to the original point. If Lidstrom and Datsyuk were suspended for skipping the All-Star Game, how come Ovechkin isn’t? So much for precedent and consistency, eh?

Sounds like the NHL figured this was a battle not worth fighting. Ovechkin does an awful lot to sell the sport, so tacking on a suspension for skipping out on Ottawa may well be penny wise, but pound foolish.

NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly had this to say in a statement released to the media: “In light of yesterday’s suspension, we informed the Capitals that, while Alex Ovechkin was still welcome to participate in this weekend’s All Star festivities in Ottawa, we would not be insisting that he do so. We now understand that Alex has decided to withdraw from this weekend’s events. Given the circumstances involved, we understand Mr. Ovechkin’s decision in this regard and have no intention of pursuing this matter further.”

Sounds like a case of picking your battles.

Let’s be clear, Ovechkin should not be above discipline because he is a superstar. And he needs to remember that as a repeat offender he shouldn’t do the crime if he can’t do the time. But in this case, since no penalty was initially called for the hit, Ovechkin isn’t happy with the suspension decision, so the NHL can lump it with his all-star decision.

“I don’t believe I deserve to get a three-game suspension for the hit that I did,” Ovechkin told reporters. “I was disappointed, actually. ... All my career it’s going to be like that. My game is (to) play physical. My game is (to) play hard. I don’t think it was a bad hit, dirty hit.”

And he is making his point about it quite emphatically.

Filed in: | Iced Coffey | Permalink
  Tags: alex+ovechkin, boston+bruins, tim+thomas, washington+capitals

Comments

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Do I need to phrase it more monosyllabically for you?

No, just phrase it in a way that makes sense.  How more quietly could he have done it without doing something that he felt compromised his principles?

Not really.  Tuuka Rask is a capable back up.  If it meant that much to Tim Thomas not to attend, he could have come down with “flu like symptoms” for a day or two.  If Thomas feels so strongly that he couldn’t go to the White House, thats fine I guess, I think its stupid.  But lets not kid ourselves that he declined without meaning to send a message, a message he could have delivered on FB any day, any time.

Wow, Tuuka Rask?  What are you talking about?  Seriously, what does that have to do with anything?

Flu-like symptoms?  So he should lie about why he missed it too?  Is that more polite than quietly informing his GM that he wouldn’t be attending?  And what does Facebook have to do with anything?  Did you notice that he only posted something AFTER the media and fans started attacking him about not attending?

True enough, that doesn’t mean you have to shout fire in a movie theatre to get your point across.

And again, quietly informing your GM that you’re not attending while saying NOTHING about it (until other people shone the light on it) is somehow shouting firing in a movie theatre?

If anything, what he did was see a spark, quietly get up and leave the theatre and then have to defend himself when someone called him an *#$%@& for blocking the screen.

However, what Tim Thomas did was not very polite in the eyes of a lot of people.

Yeah, I know, a lot of people have said it is rude, but nobody is willing to explain what it is that makes it rude.

There is absolutely no way in the world he could have done it that was more quiet and polite than he did it, and there was nobody who disagreed with him politically that was ever going to be willing to simply let it go.

ALL this shitstorm is because of two things.  One is what he told Chiarelli MONTHS ago, and the other was politely explaining why he did what he did after people started slinging shit at him.

Posted by Garth on 01/26/12 at 12:18 AM ET

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However, what Tim Thomas did was not very polite in the eyes of a lot of people.

The funniest thing to me about this entire situation is that allllllll these people are complaining that Tim Thomas tried to make the White House visit about himself (which is utterly absurd), and yet every single one of you is trying to make this situation -which involves Tim Thomas, the Boston Bruins and tangentially Barack Obama- about themselves and how they were affected by something that has not a GOD DAMN THING to do with them.

F*cking ironic.

Posted by Garth on 01/26/12 at 12:21 AM ET

bezukov's avatar

My opinion - Your action of farting in my sandwich would be rude (and gross), why you did it has no bearing at all on the matter.  Hanging up on someone is rude, it doesn’t matter if you do it because you’re bored, or angry, or because your kid just took a header off his high chair.  The reason can determine if something is forgivable or not, but does not alter whether or not the initial act or word was rude.

Posted by Forlorn in VA on 01/25/12 at 10:02 PM ET

I think you’re drawing a distinction without a difference, but my feeling on this is probably not going to affect the impasse we’ve arrived at. Anyway, po-tay-to, po-tah-to.  Cheers!

Posted by bezukov from the kids are alright. on 01/26/12 at 12:21 AM ET

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But that doesn’t change the fact he pulled a dick to move in order to make a statement in a petty way.

Nope.

Posted by Garth on 01/26/12 at 12:22 AM ET

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However, that changes once you’ve declined the invitation and turned it into a vehicle for a political remark.

Didn’t do that.  He declined and then when full-court-pressed about it he relented and gave the reason.

It’s pretty clear that he didn’t want to make a big deal out of it, otherwise he would’ve announced why he wasn’t going or, as some moron in the media suggested he do, he would’ve gone and then publicly announced it at a podium.

I can support someone’s right of expression without supporting the way they go about it.

So you support his right to decide not to go to the ceremony at the white house, but you don’t support the fact that he did it quietly and truthfully, rather than concocting a lie about it that could be distributed by the team.

Gotcha.

Posted by Garth on 01/26/12 at 12:34 AM ET

tuxedoTshirt's avatar

I support Thomas’ right to think and say whatever he wants.  That doesn’t mean I can’t question the way he chooses to exercise that right.  There is no logical hazard here.

Well met.  Look, you have a tiny wedge by adding the phrase, “the way he chooses”.
Which is to say, yeah you can vote, but you have to wait in line.  This is sidestepping the point.  The point is that the alternative to “the way” he is doing this, is not to do it all.  The only option you are leaving him, to do this “in a better way”, is to go to the white house (or call in sick).  That is tantamount to denying his right.  Which is, as I say, what all the pundits have done.

Now, you didn’t say he should call in sick, but that really is the only way he could have adhered to his principles while not a) “being rude”, b) “making it about himself” (or whatever he is accused of doing).  The only problem with that, is that not lying might also be one of his principles.

Posted by tuxedoTshirt from the Home of the 1937 World Champions on 01/26/12 at 12:35 AM ET

tuxedoTshirt's avatar

Two on one Bezukov.  Better type like the wind.

Posted by tuxedoTshirt from the Home of the 1937 World Champions on 01/26/12 at 12:46 AM ET

bezukov's avatar

Garth, I’ve been trying to explain why its rude.  I said it right here:

1.) On your first point, you’re of course right.  It is possible to politely decline an invitation from any person.  The choice Thomas made may not offend your sense of propriety, and to the extent that some folks around here think it was fine on Thomas’ part to use the opportunity to exercise his rights; I understand your view point. 

Some of us, and I include myself in this group, find it impertinent and discourteous to slap away the hand of someone who wants to pay you a compliment.  Within the scope of common courtesy, Thomas has acted rather tastelessly.  I don’t really give damn (within the context of this paragraph) whether or not he was conservatively or liberally motivated, or if he thinks “Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome” is american allegory.  A bigger person, in my opinion, can suck it up and pay back the same respect someone has paid him or her. 

-If you don’t think that snubbing the President so Thomas could stroke his political/free speech boner (either publicly or privately) is rude, than we just have a difference of opinion on what constitutes rudeness.  Is that fair enough?

-The point of the Tuuka Rask hypo (ignoring it was a massive failure) was to point out that Thomas had alternatives.  I’ll grant you that the Bruins outted him on this, and that they share a measure of the blame.  My point is that he didn’t have to tell anyone, just call in sick.  If he considers that betraying his beliefs, I’d just say he should choose his battles.  Or, you know, he could just be a gentleman, and suck it up.  Is it so hard to set your politics aside long enough to accept a compliment?

-Thomas drew the spotlight down on himself with his statement.  All he had to do was cite personal reasons for not attending.  He made the decision to end the speculation about his motives.  I think the rationale for what he did was petty and childish.  Love or hate Obama, Boehner, whoever, they’re still people.  I think its poor form to flip them the bird when they throw a party in your honor.

I wrote a lot of my last comments leading up to and during the game.  Sorry if my being distracted caused my words to be unclear.

Posted by bezukov from the kids are alright. on 01/26/12 at 12:48 AM ET

bezukov's avatar

@tux

The point is that the alternative to “the way” he is doing this, is not to do it all.  The only option you are leaving him, to do this “in a better way”, is to go to the white house (or call in sick).  That is tantamount to denying his right. 

Thats true, but the sun is going to rise on Thomas tomorrow.  I think he pulls enough weight in Boston that if he wrote a letter to the editor of the Globe he’d get published.  He could make his opinion known any time.  I see what you mean, he can’t speak his mind and keep it to himself in the same action, and you’re right.  I would just tell Thomas that he is going to live to fight again, and thats pretty weak if he couldn’t swallow his pride this one time.

@Garth

I see more clearly where you and I have been arguing past each other,  I hope my last post cleared it up.

Posted by bezukov from the kids are alright. on 01/26/12 at 01:12 AM ET

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I said it right here:

Here’s the problem.  You didn’t explain why it’s rude, you explained why you didn’t like it.  Those aren’t the same thing.

If you don’t think that snubbing the President so Thomas could stroke his political/free speech boner (either publicly or privately) is rude, than we just have a difference of opinion on what constitutes rudeness.

See, here’s the thing.  You’re attributing reasoning to his action that have no basis in reality.  Why should it just be accepted that he was trying to, as you so eloquently put it, stroke his free speech boner?

Why can’t it just be what it is, a man choosing not to go to a ceremony?  Instead, it’s somehow turned into Tim Thomas shitting on the American flag before burning it.

You saw what he did and simply decided on your own why he did it.  You gave him some sort of malicious intent that is nowhere to be found in his words or his actions.

Within the scope of common courtesy, Thomas has acted rather tastelessly.

THIS is the thing I don’t understand.  He acted tastelessly?  How?  He kept his mouth shut until he HAD to respond.  That’s what he did.  What is tasteless about being silent until called upon to speak?  Would you rather he call a press conference for five minutes before the ceremony and air all his grievances with the country and the direction it’s heading?

If he considers that betraying his beliefs, I’d just say he should choose his battles.

I’d argue that he did.  He chose to act on his political principles when there was a ceremony in which he would be interacting with that one guy….Obama, I think?  What is he?  Oh yeah. THE PRESIDENT.  A politician.

Thomas had alternatives.

Yeah, you’re right.  His alternatives were to be a phony and shake the president’s hand or lie about why he wasn’t going.

Are those really alternatives?

Is it so hard to set your politics aside long enough to accept a compliment?

Some people aren’t comfortable being phonies.  Some are, in fact, incapable of being phony.

Thomas drew the spotlight down on himself with his statement.

No he didn’t.  He made his statement hours after the media threw the spotlight on him.

All he had to do was cite personal reasons for not attending.

No he couldn’t have. 

OK, yes, he could’ve released something beforehand citing personal reasons, but you and I both know that he would’ve been asked about it.

As it is, Chiarelli spoke about it vaguely, and there was no way that he could’ve come out after we read what Chiarelli said and just cited personal reasons.  You can’t honestly believe that would have been left alone.

Love or hate Obama, Boehner, whoever, they’re still people.

Dude, you know that all he did was not go to a ceremony, right?  He didn’t tell anyone off.  He didn’t whip it out and piss on anyone or burn Obama in effigy, right?  He declined an invitation to the White House.  I’ll bet you ten bucks Obama didn’t run into the Oval Office, fling himself on the couch and cry into a pillow when he found out that some hockey guy didn’t come to witness him read a speech that he didn’t right and didn’t give a shit about from a teleprompter, right?

I think its poor form to flip them the bird when they throw a party in your honor.

It’s baffling to me that you consider a quiet decline to be flipping the bird.

Posted by Garth on 01/26/12 at 01:48 AM ET

RedMenace's avatar

Posted by tuxedoTshirt from Victoria on 01/25/12 at 09:59 PM ET

Let me clarify, once again, that YOU brought yourself into the Live Blog.  I simply made a vague statement that you decided to rage over; nobody would have been the wiser, but you had to get offended and try to prove your “superior intellect.”  That one’s on you, pal.

Of course, I will not give you the courtesy of a reply that takes longer than five minutes to write (just to spite you—remember, it’s all about principles), and in turn you can think whatever you want about me.  Does that sound like something you’d enjoy?  It really does, so I suggest you take that deal and run.

Now please, if you would kindly *#$%@& off and never address me again, I will give you the same courtesy and we can go about our business.

You read me?

Posted by RedMenace from the Church of Jesus Lashoff on 01/26/12 at 01:49 AM ET

tuxedoTshirt's avatar

Yes Bezukov, you are right.  This won’t go away.  If I didn’t violently hate the Boston Brutes, I would likely be very disappointed that he did this.  Not a team-first move.  But it is still probably the coolest thing that a hockey player has ever done outside the rink (other than charity, obviously).  I respect your view and your well-reasoned analysis, as always…..here’s a man not perturbed by a little mudslinging hyperbole.
I am just shocked at how many writers felt the need to come out against this, in what really feels like a conformist hysteria.  I thought there’d be one “good on him” out there.  But I really feel like political fear is keeping people from saying something like that - as they will certainly be pilloried and made guilty by association.  Not calling you a coward Coffey, it just made for very dry, and I thought, unoriginal reading.
I remain a big fan of your work.

Posted by tuxedoTshirt from the Home of the 1937 World Champions on 01/26/12 at 01:54 AM ET

tuxedoTshirt's avatar

I don’t know if acknowledging your request counts as violating it.  But okay it’s deal.  I found that to be a trolling post attacking me, and I responded.  But absolutely, you are of course free to mock whatever you want.

Posted by tuxedoTshirt from the Home of the 1937 World Champions on 01/26/12 at 02:00 AM ET

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I hope my last post cleared it up.

It cleared up your statements, but I know we’re not going to see eye to eye on reasoning/intent so it’s probably best to chalk it up to differing opinions and let it go.

Until the trade deadlines get closer and we can maybe fundamentally disagree one whether the Wings need to make a move and if so, who they need to get.

Posted by Garth on 01/26/12 at 02:00 AM ET

tuxedoTshirt's avatar

Sorry, the last one was a reply to Menace.

Posted by tuxedoTshirt from the Home of the 1937 World Champions on 01/26/12 at 02:01 AM ET

tuxedoTshirt's avatar

This one is to Garth:
Your logic is relentless.  Good stuff.

Posted by tuxedoTshirt from the Home of the 1937 World Champions on 01/26/12 at 02:02 AM ET

bezukov's avatar

-I’ll try to answer succinctly:

See, here’s the thing.  You’re attributing reasoning to his action that have no basis in reality.  Why should it just be accepted that he was trying to, as you so eloquently put it, stroke his free speech boner?

Why can’t it just be what it is, a man choosing not to go to a ceremony? Instead, it’s somehow turned into Tim Thomas shitting on the American flag before burning it.

You saw what he did and simply decided on your own why he did it.  You gave him some sort of malicious intent that is nowhere to be found in his words or his actions.

-Its rather amusing that you’ve accused me of making false attributions to Thomas, because now you’re doing the same thing to me.  I’ve said over and over that I’m not evaluating the merit of Thomas’ politics.  Just his sense of courtesy.  It doesn’t matter if he snubs Obama or the cashier at McDonalds as far as I’m concerned.

-This was never about a man just not going to a ceremony These are Thomas’ own words:

“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.
“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.

-I agree that we only found this out after the Bruins organization fumbled the ball, so the fact that this came about in the first place wasn’t Thomas’ fault.  However, I’d say in the aftermath that Thomas was pretty unequivocal about his motives; and that I haven’t put words in his mouth.

THIS is the thing I don’t understand.  He acted tastelessly?  How?  He kept his mouth shut until he HAD to respond.  That’s what he did.  What is tasteless about being silent until called upon to speak?  Would you rather he call a press conference for five minutes before the ceremony and air all his grievances with the country and the direction it’s heading?

-I agree that Thomas was silent until this came out.  Once it was public, all he had to do cite personal reasons for not going, problem solved.  The political speech was unnecessary and rather selfish.  You may says thats just Thomas sticking to his guns.  We’re just going to have to disagree here.

I’d argue that he did.  He chose to act on his political principles when there was a ceremony in which he would be interacting with that one guy….Obama, I think?  What is he?  Oh yeah. THE PRESIDENT.  A politician.

-Hey fair enough.  Thats just not how I would play it.  Obama shits sitting down just like you and me.  Tim Thomas sees only a politician, I also see a man doing his job (probably) as best he can with the means he has (i.e., 545 members of Congress).  I can set my political opinions aside long enough to show gratitude towards a kind gesture made on my behalf.  Maybe Tim Thomas hasn’t lived long enough to gain that perspective.

-As for the rest of your post….

I’ve answered you on some of those points already, and the rest doesn’t really deserve the dignity of a response.

Posted by bezukov from the kids are alright. on 01/26/12 at 02:32 AM ET

bezukov's avatar

I respect your view and your well-reasoned analysis, as always…..here’s a man not perturbed by a little mudslinging hyperbole.

Thanks tux, and likewise!  Nothing like a little tongue and cheek to pass the evening.

It cleared up your statements, but I know we’re not going to see eye to eye on reasoning/intent so it’s probably best to chalk it up to differing opinions and let it go.

Until the trade deadlines get closer and we can maybe fundamentally disagree one whether the Wings need to make a move and if so, who they need to get.

Posted by Garth on 01/26/12 at 12:00 AM ET

You’ve got a right to respond to my last post of course.  I posted it before I read your last comment.  I do want to take the chance to say its all bygones on my end.  Good night folks!

Posted by bezukov from the kids are alright. on 01/26/12 at 02:37 AM ET

tuxedoTshirt's avatar

okay, soapbox and heartfelt blah blah blah aside,

The political speech was unnecessary and rather selfish

fair enough.

I can set my political opinions aside long enough to show gratitude towards a kind gesture made on my behalf.

this is fair enough to.

From a strictly hockey point of view, this might be more of a bummer.  But, the chemistry in that room will take more than this to disrupt.

peace.  If anyone feels I went too far…....well, you’re probably right.

Posted by tuxedoTshirt from the Home of the 1937 World Champions on 01/26/12 at 03:14 AM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

I had a comment from way back when that didn’t go through originally.  Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem to have been answered and now there are even more points to it:

Some of us, and I include myself in this group, find it impertinent and discourteous to slap away the hand of someone who wants to pay you a compliment.  Within the scope of common courtesy, Thomas has acted rather tastelessly.

Impertinent and discourteous? Slap away the hand of someone who wants to pay you a compliement?

Oh I absolutely disagree with this. Acting impertinently and slapping away Obama’s hand would have taken ACTUALLY slapping Obama’s hand or showing up in colonial garb carrying a protest sign. If you want to pay me a compliment, then you can easily do that from a distance without adding pomp and circumstance to the affair.

I think the concept that an invitation to the White House as a compliment in and of itself tends to assign a bit of royal value to the office and to his residence.

However, I think Thomas knows that he doesn’t exist in a vacuum.  Whether the resulting “scandal” was intentional or not, it isn’t unreasonable to question the amount of thought Thomas put in to the whole affair.

So the question becomes whether Thomas intentionally stirred up a scandal he knew was coming by silently waiting for the press to pick up on his absence instead of announcing it early and ACTUALLY making it about himself? There’s simply no way for Thomas to win in this situation: he either refuses his principles and acts in a manner disingenuous to himself for the appeasement of those who would otherwise be offended, He turns the circus on himself before the event and distracts from the entire affair with all of this talk happening BEFORE his team even gets a chance to go and enjoy themselves, or he remains true to himself and allows the media storm to fire itself up AFTER his teammates have already gone through their visit and have gotten an opportunity to enjoy themselves?

Hell, laying Thomas’ options out like that, I’m even more happy that he chose the route he did. The only way this situation could have been entirely defused was for Tim Thomas to not have a problem with his own government.  I’m sure Tim Thomas wishes that were the case more than any of us.

.......

And the other things I’ve read since:

The complaining about the press reaction to this is annoying me too.  When my dog barks at a stranger walking down the alley that runs past my house, it doesn’t surprise or annoy me.  He’s a dog, and thats his job.  On the same token, I’m not going to get that annoyed at the press for doing theirs as well.

Except the press is made up of people. The same people who are supposed to be as cognizant of the consequences of their actions as Thomas is.

all he had to do cite personal reasons for not going, problem solved.

I’ll allude to my earlier response, but how does this solve any of the supposed problems of this situation? He declines an invitation to the White House and when asked about it, he gives a dismissive “personal reasons”?

NOW we’re talking about what is and isn’t personally disrespectful to the President, because he isn’t saying he has POLITICAL reasons (which I feel should be an acceptable reason to politely decline an invitation), but he’s saying that he has a PERSONAL PROBLEM with the President himself that he just can’t manage to get over enough.  You honestly think the backlash against Thomas for having “personal reasons” to skip the White House would be any less? 

I know you said you were kidding earlier, but I find it telling that your two proposed solutions to the problem of Tim Thomas being rude to the President of the United States include either flat-out lying about it or telling less than the entire truth.

Because in my personal feelings, either of those options compared to what Thomas did actually ARE disrespectful to the man, to the office, and to his country.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 01/26/12 at 10:18 AM ET

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I’m happy to let this all go (though I’ve enjoyed the discussions very much)

Maybe Tim Thomas hasn’t lived long enough to gain that perspective.

Here’s the fundamental problem I have with your argument.  You’re assuming that he’s just not mature enough to do what you would have done, when all he did was do it differently than you would have.  That doesn’t make him less mature than you, it just makes him different from you.

Some people have no problems putting politics aside for any number of reasons and some don’t.  It doesn’t make one better than the other, it’s like condemning someone for choosing Rice Krispies over Corn Flakes.  I prefer Rice Krispies, but if you prefer Corn Flakes it doesn’t make one of us rude or discourteous.

Posted by Garth on 01/26/12 at 11:24 AM ET

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@Garth if it were Bush in offiice he wouldn’t care. He’s not even making sense at this point, dug a hole, and is trying to claw out of it. Suggesting Thomas brought the media spotlight on himself when he said nothing until the the liberal section of the media got all butthurt about it in the first place and suggesting he should have used some dishonest excuse, speaks volumes.

Posted by Realmk from Boston on 01/26/12 at 11:30 AM ET

bezukov's avatar

Posted by Realmk from Boston on 01/26/12 at 09:30 AM ET

If I were grasping for straws I wouldn’t be admitting that I was wrong about aspects of this discussion.  Would I?  I’m sure intellectual honesty isn’t something you’re used to hearing on AM radio.  You should give it a try sometime, its refreshing to hear people who are big enough to admit they’re wrong. 

For the record, I would feel the same way if somebody snubbed Bush.  I know thats easy for me to say from where we stand right now, but its equally easy for you to say the opposite about me.

Its also very easy for you to act like you’ve contributed to this conversation.  But on the other side of that token, its a simple matter for us to see that you’ve offered nothing.  The people on this thread that you’ve decided are liberals aren’t the only one’s rolling their eyes at you.

But I’ll say this, you’re tireless as you are tiresome, though that isn’t a distinction I’d go writing home to your mother about.

Posted by Garth on 01/26/12 at 09:24 AM ET

I would just say as a strictly personal anecdote, that I’ve spent enough time around politics in my day.  (Luckily, its no longer what I do.)  The attitudes that Republicans and Democrats have towards each other, and the attitude the public has towards politicians, do nothing to advance our situation.  To me, Tim Thomas has epitomized what is wrong with this country’s political discourse.  When we aren’t capable of seeing the humanity in our government officials (and they don’t see it in each other) the system breaks down.  I know I just said a few things about Thomas that I can’t prove, thats just my gut feeling for what its worth.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 01/26/12 at 08:18 AM ET

Initially I missed the point you and Garth made, that the Bruins put Thomas on the spot.  I was wrong about that, and I agree with the view that the two of you have put forward.  Its pretty much negates the “Thomas put himself before his teammates” contention.  I never really thought thats what this was about though. 

However, that doesn’t change the fact that if Thomas has just been a big kid about it and gone, we wouldn’t be talking about this right now.  I know you disagree with me about the “big kid” remark I just made, but thats how I feel about his rationale for skipping out.  I think its kind of small for a person to stay home (in this scenario) under Thomas’ pretense.

Once it was out though, Thomas still wasn’t beholden to explain himself to anyone other than the Bruins.  The media could speculate all they want.  Now Thomas just looks petty.  For that part of all this, Thomas has only himself to blame.  He could have deflected questions, and eventually everyone would have gotten tired of asking.

So, setting my initial misunderstanding of the fact pattern aside, I still arrive at the same conclusion.  Its childish that he couldn’t suck it up and be with his teammates.  I may hate going to church when I go home to visit the folks (and believe me, that violates my principles), but if it makes grandma happy, I’ll go.  Sometimes you need to choose the high road.  Whether Thomas did or not is a matter of opinion.  You know mine.

I know you said you were kidding earlier, but I find it telling that your two proposed solutions to the problem of Tim Thomas being rude to the President of the United States include either flat-out lying about it or telling less than the entire truth.

Because in my personal feelings, either of those options compared to what Thomas did actually ARE disrespectful to the man, to the office, and to his country.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 01/26/12 at 08:18 AM ET

You make a fair point.  Obviously, it just depends on your outlook.  “Personal reasons” leaves enough room to guess that he could have stayed home without putting anyone on the spot.  Sure the press would still be guessing about his real reasons, but they’d only be guessing.  Sometimes you have to balance the value of honesty against the value of tact.  So along that vein, I think that there are times in which a white lie is more tactful than the truth, and the better approach.

Posted by bezukov from the kids are alright. on 01/26/12 at 12:46 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

Good convo, bezukov.

I always appreciate that we can have these disagreements respectfully. Thank you.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 01/26/12 at 12:55 PM ET

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@Garth if it were Bush in offiice he wouldn’t care.

I don’t know that you’re correct (and I don’t think you’re in any position to decide what bezukov would or wouldn’t do in another scenario) and it doesn’t matter to me.

I don’t care about Tim Thomas’s politics.  In fact, I’m not sure that I even believe his statement that it’s not about party politics, but that doesn’t matter to me.

All that matters to me is that I think this was blown way out of proportion by a lot of people who are, in my opinion, inserting their beliefs into the conversation.

When we aren’t capable of seeing the humanity in our government officials (and they don’t see it in each other) the system breaks down.

You make a good point, but I might also say that you don’t seem capable of separating the man from the title, or at least unwilling to.  Nowhere does he mention Barack Obama or even the word “president”.  His beef is with the government, not the specific person.  The president is just the person at the top. 

It’s unreasonable, to me, to suggest that someone who is angry with an entity comprised of thousands of people should not be able to express his opinion for fear of making one person feel bad.

This is truly, based on Thomas’s statement, not a personal grudge that he has with a single person.

To bring it around to hockey, if a coach is ineffective and has “lost the room”, should the players continue to do what the coach says, continuing to lose and be unproductive, for fear of hurting the coach’s feelings or being disrespectul to the man, when all they want to do is get rid of the ineffective coach?

Should the Rangers have sucked it up and kept Wade Redden on the roster instead of sending him down?  They refused to see the humanity in their overpaid, underproducing forward and didn’t take into account that it is a slap in the face to make him ride the bus and play in the AHL.

Posted by Garth on 01/26/12 at 01:25 PM ET

bezukov's avatar

Good convo, bezukov.

I always appreciate that we can have these disagreements respectfully. Thank you.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 01/26/12 at 10:55 AM ET

Indeed.  That goes for you too Garth.

Posted by bezukov from the kids are alright. on 01/26/12 at 04:21 PM ET

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That goes for you too Garth.

WHAT?  You don’t know what you’re talking about!!!!!

Wait, what?

Oh.

Thanks.

Same to you.

Posted by Garth on 01/27/12 at 01:21 AM ET

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About Iced Coffey

Phil Coffey has covered the NHL since 1981, most recently as the Senior Editorial Director of NHL.com. He spent over 11 years there.