Last year, then-Flyers Kris Versteeg and Nick Boynton decided to skip the Blackhawks’ visit to the White House because they wanted to practice with the Flyers. Noble.
Today, Bruins goalie Tim Thomas skipped out on the Bruins’ visit to the White House because of political differences. Jackasstic!
The details from Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli via Puck Daddy:
Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli confirmed that Thomas had told him months ago he would not attend the White House event due to his political and ideological differences with the Obama administration. Chiarelli said he had tried to convince Thomas to attend the event "over the last couple months" to no avail.
"He chose not to come. The reasons behind it I think he'll make the media aware through his Facebook," said Chiarelli.
The GM said that he could have mandated Thomas attend the event, but chose not to. "I can require someone to attend a team event. If they don't, I can suspend him. But I'm not going to suspend Tim. Whatever his position is isn't representative of the Boston Bruins or my own. But I'm not going to suspend him."
It’s Thomas' right to do what he chooses, it seems our country was founded on that principle, but what’s the point? Now, instead of the attention being on his (I write this begrudgingly) deserving teammates and Zdeno Chara, everyone will talk about the best player’s absence from the White House.
Whether you agree with Barack Obama and his administration's political views or not should have little, if anything, to do with attending. It’s a photo-op for the President, yes, but it’s also a way for the team (and fans) to celebrate their accomplishment by getting a little recognition from the most powerful man in the world.
What’s worse, Thomas, who is American and apparently a member of the Tea Party, seemingly had no qualms about having USA draped all over his chest in the 2010 Olympics, which took place more than a year into Obama’s presidency. The White House visit, like the Olympics, really has nothing to do with who is the in the Oval Office. Rather, it’s about the fact that the President of the United States is going to give you a golf clap, a pat on the ass, and shine the spotlight on a bunch of otherwise undeserving athletes for a few moments.
Instead, Thomas, in his absence, is now the center of attention. Oh, and so is that Facebook page his GM mentioned– the Tim Thomas Hockey Camps Facebook page. Bruins blogger Matt Kalman sums it up best:
Great job of free advertising for Tim Thomas Hockey Camps. Bet you can't get govt. assistance to help with tuition.
A political statement and some PR for your for-profit hockey camp?! Double-word score!
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