TORONTO - So ... Boston Bruins’ goalie Tim Thomas chose not to visit the White House with the rest of the team to be feted by President Barack Obama for winning the Stanley Cup. Horrors!
So now there’s a hullabaloo over his decision — even to the point where management has discussed suspending Thomas for skipping a team event.
Now there’s a laugh!
I can hear the managers of the New York Rangers and Philadelphia Flyers — even our beloved Maple Leafs — saying: “Yeah, how dare Thomas skip the White House — suspend him, please, maybe for the rest of the season!”
Can you imagine the uproar among Boston fans for even considering the foolishness of suspending the best goalie in hockey, winner of the Vezina Trophy last year, for a personal choice that has nothing to do with his professional life, which is hockey?
Apparently Thomas is the only American on the Bruins team — and he’s pretty conservative. He has the temerity to think that Obama has been something of a disaster as president — in over his head. In Thomas’ own words: “The federal government has grown out of control, threatening the rights, liberties and property of the people.”
Well, for the information of those who are upset at Thomas’ decision, a hell of a lot of Americans feel the same way — maybe 51% of the country.
This is evidenced by polls that show more Americans think Obama is doing a lousy job, than those who think he’s doing a good job as prez.
In other times, in other circumstances, Thomas’ decision to skip the White House meeting would be acclaimed as a gesture of principle.
Remember, we boycotted the 1980 Moscow Olympics on a point of principle — to register disapproval of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. For many, it was a personal choice and a matter of conscience.
So it seems to be with Tim Thomas, who has the grit to put his money where his mouth is, knowing that his decision will be criticized by some. As a conservative, he knows his own mind. And has guts.
Even knowing this, he was probably startled to learn that Dave Hodge, usually a sensible hockey commentator, twittered that Thomas’ three kids are named Kiley, Kelsey and Keegan — KKK, implying that this somehow indicates support for the Ku Klux Klan.
Can you believe it? Hodge didn’t spell out the Klan by name, but the implication is clear. To paraphrase Newt Gingrich in the South Carolina debate, Hodge’s KKK allegation verges on “despicable, destructive, vicious and negative.”
Such a tweet is beyond stupid — it’s silly.
On a personal level, my respect for Tim Thomas is considerable. He has strong feelings and beliefs (which in the case of Obama I tend to share), and the easy thing would have been to just go along with the White House visit and bite his lip.
That’s not Thomas’ way — not in hockey or in political beliefs.
As for the “team event” he skipped, does anyone think that gaggle of Canadians, Russians and whoever makes up the team, give a damn if Thomas chose not to attend? These guys are hockey players, not left-wing zealots seeking to advance socialism.
I await, with interest, what Don Cherry has to say about the controversy.
On second thought, maybe Tim Thomas’ indiscretion warrants a suspension on March 6. That’s the next time the Bruins play the Leafs.