According to writer Joe Haggerty, when the Boston Bruins were granted the privilege of visiting the White House and meeting the President today, Tim Thomas took a pass.

He’s a Republican, you see.

In the interest of full disclosure, I’ll pass this on: I’m a pretty left-leaning guy, politically.

Also in the interest of full disclosure: I’d have been pumped to go to the White House to meet George W. Bush a handful of years ago.

I’m not exactly sure what statement Thomas was trying to make by not meeting the President – while I disagree with Republicans on a lot of issues, I’m still able to enjoy them and chat with them about our differences, which I think is generally healthy. This “hold out” of sorts, if it is that, however….doesn’t seem so healthy. writer (amongst many other outlets) Slava Malamud is one of my favourite Twitter follows for a number of reasons (rarely are well respected, widely read, smart guys so uncensored), and man, is he not cool with Thomas’ decision today.

I’ll let him take it from here: Mr. Malamud, your thoughts on Tim Thomas not showing up to the White House today? (Note: remember, these are his opinions, not mine.)


Well then.

Also eviscerating Thomas: our own Ryan Lambert. Example:



Before anything goes too far on the Thomas-backlash front, Boston writer Joe Haggerty offered this simple “wait and see” message for us all on Twitter:


So, we’ll find out more soon enough.

What’s your take? Think Thomas was trying to make a statement? If so, did it make any sense?


(Update: Joe Haggerty on the nuts and bolts of the Thomas situation.)

Comments (65)

  1. Suspend him for the 2012 playoffs. Sincerely, 29.nhl general managers.

  2. Thomas plays for the Bruins, it’s usually the opposing team that worries about healthcare.

  3. He better have a bloody good explanation, though given that Chiarelli says he informed him of the decision months ago, I doubt it. I’ve been honored to have gone to the Whitehouse (not even to meet with Obama, but with the energy secretary) once, and it was a highlight of my life. He is showing disrespect of the man, the office, and the country. My respect for Thomas just dropped a whole hell of a lot. Soldiers fight and die for the commander in chief regardless of their political party. Maybe Thomas should have to phone a few of them up and explain why taking a meeting is so hard.

    • Exactly. I was honoured to spend a day with a Texas Congresswoman’s very Republican/pro-Bush staff a number of years ago as a young student. As a Canadian liberal minded person (the joke is, the equivalent in America is ‘Gay Nader Fans for Peace’, from Jon Stewart) I disagreed strongly with the Republican leadership, but I would not have refused the experience based on politics. These are people who have worked very hard for their positions, and what they have done is a great accomplishment. This is even more true with the president.
      Thomas was simply attending a celebration of the teams accomplishments. A sports celebration. Not a political rally, not a State of the Union speech.

      I respect Tim’s right to express himself, but I also disagree with his decision.

  4. Hoping there’s some sensible explanation for this, as I don’t want to dislike Tim Thomas. Sounds like some bullshit, though.

  5. Pretty hard to fault Thomas here. Just because a guy hasn’t given up on life and wants the government to do everything for him (liberal mentality) does not mean that he needs to visit obama.

    Easy for bloggers to attack a guy who has worked way harder than any of they could in their wildest dreams.

  6. Slava Malamud’s comment that 99% of US-born NBA players are democrats because they’re black is, at best, insensitvie. Most would probably think it to be racist to assume that someone votes a certain way because of the colour of their skin.

    On Thomas. Lambert is bang on. He turned something meant to be an honour into his own personal political statement. Selfish.

    Related story. Many years ago the US Ryder Cup team was to meet with President Clinton (I think in 1993). Many of the team members were less than thrilled as they were largely Republicans. I believe Azinger referred to Clinton as a draft-dodger. I’m pretty sure they all ended up going to the White House and meeting Clinton.

    People are crazy about politics in the US.

    • Actually, considering that Democrats haven’t carried less than 75% of the Black vote in America since the Civil Rights movement, it’s not racist to assume most black people are Democrats. It’s a statistical fact that has a lot of reasons behind it, including the historical ties the Democratic Party had in helping the Civil Right Movement (Lyndon Johnson, Civil Rights Act, Desegregation, etc.). You could argue it also has something to do with the Republican platform, but that’s far more political than simple history.

      • Your using false logic. You don’t assume all black people are criminals because a disproportionately high percent of inmates are black, do you?

        Keep i mind that only 61% of the country voted, 13% of that 61% labeled themselves as African american, and 75% of the 13% (which you just threw out there, which is wrong, but lets go with it) voted for Democrat platforms (except prop 8 in Cali, African Americans voted overwhelmingly for). So you have 207M or so registered voters in the US, 126M who actually voted, and 16M African Americans that actually voted. The most recent census has 42M African Americans residing in the US, so you have 28% (16M/42M*0.75) voting for Democrats, but you argue that Slava’s comment was based on fact?

        But I often see government policies that are racist that are not interpreted as such (i.e., affirmative action is inherently racist because it assumes minorities (specifically african americans) aren’t capable of getting into colleges on their own merits.

        Slava Malumud’s statement was a stereotype and ignorant, though not racist, because I don’t believe that statement had any attempt ot discriminate

        • Not a stereotype. I’ve taken a class about this and it is completely safe to think that if someone’s black, they’re Democratic. The same way it’s safe to assume that if someone’s old, rich, and white, they’re probably Republican.

          • Rich people are usually Republicans. Barkley is a republican but, he’s also black. What’s the trump card when it comes to political leanings amongst the NBA brethren? Most likely, 99% of them don’t bother to vote, they’re to busy getting high and banging fugly groupies. Here’s a fact, 99% of basketball groupies are tall and ugly.

  7. I’m with you about going to the White House no matter who the president is, and I’m very disappointed in Thomas, but I’m frankly shocked that anyone would assume there’s a racial component to this. In a word, I’d say that’s bullshit, and IMHO it absolutely derails any point Malamud has.

    • I think it’s more that the level of hate directed at Obama (record-setting number of death threats having to be investigated by the Secret Service) is pretty clearly race-based, much like the hatred against JFK boiled down to his religion more than anything else.

      Since I can’t think of another player who’s skipped out on the visit that didn’t involve an injury issue (and am perfectly willing to be corrected), there at least is some correlation between the two. That may not be causation, but there MIGHT be something there. Of course, Thomas isn’t going to be insane enough to come out and say it, but… there’s smoke here, if not fire.

      (Sadly, we never got to see Barkley make the visit during the Clinton years. That would’ve been entertaining, to say the least)

  8. I’d suggest people wait for Thomas’s statement before passing judgement on his actions.

    That said, I’m with you – you should respect the office enough to appreciate the honor of a White House invite. Anyone who blows off the President because of his political stripe should have little to add in a conversation about patriotism.

    But I think Slava is off his nut on this one. Was James Harrison a racist when he skipped the Steelers’ visit to the White House? Having an NBA team blow off a white GOP president would show the exact same disregard for the office.

    Sadly, that’s the state of American politics these days. It’s no longer a place where reasonable people can disagree. Kind of like a Flyers-Rangers game…

  9. I have to say I’ve lost some respect for Thomas. He’s turned something that should have been an honor for the TEAM into something political about him. I’m curious are there other players (hockey or other sports) that have snubbed a president?

    • I believe there have been a few baseball players in recent years (Bush Jr).

      Here’s the thing…if it was just TT invited, I could understand it more. Still wouldn’t like it, but that’s my opinion. But it was for the TEAM, and he made it about himself.

  10. I am flabbergasted to find out that Thomas is a Republican – he always struck me as someone who would be a left-leaning “earthy-crunchy” type. I was musing that it (the snub) was a political statement about Obama not closing Gitmo or something. Yea, guess I got that all wrong…

    Anyway, I have been following Slava’s commentary this AM already (he is entertaining when he gets riled up). My feeling is that it’s Thomas’s personal statement to make (you know, it’s a free country and all that), and a little surprised that it’s getting so much buzz. I’m also willing to let Thomas speak for himself before I let my opinion form entirely. It is too bad if the mini conflagration surrounding it ends up taking anything away from the guys who did go tho’.

  11. Total pass. I don’t know why us Americans have this fanatical idea that we’re supposed to have this reverent respect for our elected officials while we simultaneously agree that they are primarily scumbags.

  12. Here’s the thing, if Thomas does show up to the White House I don’t think his presence would be especially notable, I don’t think his showing up would be an implicit endorsement of Obama. Hopefully most people are not naive enough to think that everyone on the Boston Bruins agrees with Obama’s views and policies, but his teammates showed up because they are there to sell the game. Thomas’s absence is way more notable than his presence would’ve been and by not showing up, he made this about himself. Also, the optics don’t look good either. This is not helping dispel the notion that hockey is exclusively a white man’s game.

    Thomas is hurting the NHL brand, which is ironic because it’s his meal ticket, it’s why he is wealthy and can complain about being taxed too heavily on the absurd amount of money he makes.

    • A “white man’s game”…Really?!! There’s currently 22 (+/-) countries represented in the NHL’s players rosters.

  13. I much prefer system analyst to “so and so won’t come to my party”.

  14. Isn’t Thomas from Flint, big 3 auto country that Obama was partially responsible for bailing out (minus Ford)?

    • Yup. Also the home of Michael Moore.

      Although being anywhere in close proximity to Moore would pretty much turn anyone into a Republican….

  15. Maybe it’s because Thomas is from Flint, MI and he understands that the UAW’s unsustainable costs, pension plans, etc. have forced the automakers to outsource their labor in order to keep costs low, remain profitable and competitive against foreign automobile companies?

    • You can’t pin everything on the auto-workers. Sure, they’re overpaid and they’ve got a really strong union. However the companies were horribly run – like Chrysler, in the middle of a boom for small fuel efficient cars, bringing out a new line of Hemi vehicles because “everybody” wants POWER!!!!!!
      The two most famous American cars are probably the Mustang and the Corvette. One of which has a big steel girder for an axle and the other uses leaf-springs for suspension. Those are technologies used on horse carts…seriously, if they wanted to compete with the Japanese and the Germans, maybe using technology developed sometime after the dark ages ended would be useful?

      But anyway, I find it amusing when left wing people assume that corporations are the worst thing ever and unions angellic, while right wing people feel that unions are destroying the economy and corporations are here to save us all…They both suck, though unions at least don’t really destroy the environment, steal billions from the public, and underpay their workers…Corporations do suck more, but they definitely both suck.

  16. He is apparantly a man of principal.

  17. thomas didnt go to the white house? who cares. and its probably because he has the flu or something yet somehow everyone is offended. yawn.

  18. honestly, i would have considered, if not done, the same thing if i had been in his position and bush was still in office. that said, its more about being honored by the highest position in the land, not about who holds that position.

    also, slava malamud’s twitter feed is one of the most consistently funny feeds i read.

  19. Who cares! Didn’t anyone ever think that it is his decision! Who cares about the president! He is just another man, not the holy savior like some Americans make him out to be! I’d take a pass too! What isn’t there the freedom to make his own decisions! GET OVER IT!

  20. If anything, this says more about the society in the U.S. where we glamorize politicians. They are our servants, who through acting like demagogues have hidden much of the corruptness of all of them (pick a party, it doesn’t matter), through sound bytes and manipulation.

    He probably should have gone, but there is no reason why he should be forced to go, nor any reason why punitive measures should be taken for him not attending.

    It is a racist who assumes Thomas did not go because Thomas is a racist.

    • “It is a racist who assumes Thomas did not go because Thomas is a racist.”

      That’s not racism…it may not be morally correct, but no one is suggesting Thomas is a racist as a result of his being white, they are suggesting he is a racist based on his action.

      • Correct, and only racists jump to that conclusion.

        And no, they are not assuming he is racist because of his action, or otherwise James Harrison would also be accused by the same people for the same action as racist.

  21. Hey as an American, you can always express the way that you feel, but I was taught that you should honor and respect the President because he/she is the face of the nation. Though you might disagree with one views, respect for their abilities to hold and respect those views, is what makes America great. I’m sorry for Tim Thomas that he didn’t get to meet the President.

  22. i smell a trade in the trading deadline or offseason for thomas :p

  23. Ugh! You guys got politics all over my hockey!

  24. There’s a lot of back and forth on here about whether or not Thomas has any racial prejudice in his Obama hatred. There is reason to make that case:
    In the summer when the ‘Birther’ movement was getting national attention thanks to Donald Trump and others, Tim Thomas stated in an interview that he was 100% convinced that Obama was born in Kenya.
    Of course that turned out to be very wrong.
    The fact that he couldn’t believe a black man with an American mother and Kenyan father was born in Hawaii, and is in fact an American doesn’t say much for Thomas’ judgment.
    For a guy who claims to be strongly patriotic, it also doesn’t say much for his ideals that he can’t even join his team in a room with a man whose views he disagrees with.

    Wrong way to make a point. Showed up his team instead.

    • From Dave Hodge TSN- ” Don’t know if it’s fair to point this out, but Tim Thomas has three children named Kiley, Kelsey and Keegan.”

      Umm…hopefully it’s a coincidence.

      • Did he really say or tweet that? Even if that’s tongue-in-cheek (I assume it is), that’s just inappropriate by Hodge to allude to.

    • When you make a false causal leap for someone else’s actions and assume you understand their motives (which in this case, you believe to be racist), it says alot more about your own thought process since this is your best basis for your conclusion.

  25. It’s not a stretch at all for me to believe that Tim Thomas is an epic douche nozzle. He’ll being crying himself to sleep when Obama wins again. Go get em Barry.

  26. So I read some of the comments, especially from the psycho who thinks Timmy Thomas is some racist biggot. CALM DOWN! Tim Thomas has every right to either go or not go to the White House. He had his reasons. Would I persoally of done the same? No. My political views are closer to Tim Thomas than Obama but I would of sucked it up and gone as it was a team event.and a rare opportunity.
    I think people need to remember that he is an athlete and not a politician and you need to let him do his job, play in net.
    Complete overreaction. Why don’t you write an article on how he’s probably going to lead them to another Stanley Cup this year.

  27. Let’s just chalk this one up to the fact that Tim Thomas is a goalie.

    Does anyone have any conclusive evidence that a “normal” goalie exists? Just wondering. Although, I must say, a Russian guy talking about “ze universe” is a little more endearing than a guy who turns a celebration of a team’s accomplishments into a political statement for his own gain.

  28. Agreed. Bryzgalov for Grand Chancellor of the World.

  29. good for you thomas if i played with the bruins i wouldnt go neither……dam them dixxie chicks are right …..

  30. Another reason to loathe the Bruins, like I needed another one!

  31. If it has nothing to do with political parties why wouldn’t he be up there. He would have loved to meet george w. bush could it be more of a racial thing because president obama is african american. You never want it to be like that but i’m just throwing it out there.

  32. Bourne,
    You said “I’m still able to enjoy them and chat with them about our differences, which I think is generally healthy. ”
    At what point during the visit were Thomas and Obama going to sit down and have a beer over their differences? It wasn’t going to happen. Visiting the white house is a political photo op for the president, and always has been. They don’t talk about how to get kids playing hockey or give the president tips on working out.

    I tend to lean to the right, but it doesn’t matter. I could care less about meeting Bush, Obama, Romney, or whoever. They’re a politician. They’re paid to smile and make you think they’re going to represent you. Guess what, I’ve yet to find a politician that truly represents me.

    There is absolutely no reason for the President of the United States to invite a sports team to the White House. It’s a waste of the President’s time, and he has better things to do. Stop schmoozing the players and get to work damnit! Meet with someone trying to cure cancer, or a specialist in foreign policy or something.

    And Slava is an idiot. People have snubbed president’s plenty of time in the past. And @ Lambert, I’m pretty sure the visit was just as memorable for the rest of his teammates. Go write something actually worth reading.

    I don’t agree with Obama on most things, and I wouldn’t want my picture to be taken with him and be used in a photo op either.

    I respect Thomas for standing up for what he believes in, even though I don’t agree with everything he does believe in.

  33. First of all, I think it’s people like Mr. Malamud who are the idiots. It’s America. You don’t want to do something, you don’t have to do it. Obviously, Tim had a strong enough reason (in his mind) not to want to go. He didn’t go.

    I love it when people say, “Athletes are boring. We need more characters in the NHL.” Then when one stands up and does something like this, everyone chastises him. I say good for him. Politics are bullshit anyway…just another thing for people to argue over.

    Like someone else said, it cracks me up that we badmouth our elected, often corrupt, officials daily, yet criticize those people that have the guts to stand up to them, as if they are some sort of superhuman entities. They’re not. Oh well, you know what they say: “Follow the flock, step in shit.” Good for Tim to tread his own ground. I’ve always loved him as a person and a player, and this makes me respect him even more.

  34. Good for Thomas, a man with a brain. Its not just Obama as he says, its been going on for a long time, in the States and Canada. Massive government growth, massive mounting debt, more government intrusion into all aspects of our life, a daily dose of spin and BS coming from all government… Government is out of control and needs to be reigned in and none of the mainstream parties will do this. They are the problem, they have created this mess.

    “We don’t want the party to end, the “free” trips, expense accounts…perks, gold plated pensions, free this, free that…Yes indeed, see we in government, are all entitled to our entitlements folks and we can’t stop that, at least not until we retire. Our unions say so, it’s ours and we want it now…$$”

    Scum bag parasitic unions, police, crown corporations, all government…all the same, bankrupting future generations…and they don’t give a damn. All you hear from government is high priced, expensive spin, lies…BS.

    Try to digest this scum bags.Who do you think is going to pay off all this debt you are leaving your children, your grandchildren? That’s what I thought, you don’t care! You greedy, greedy scum bags.

    We need a new party, a new leader willing to deal with the facts, the truth for a change. We need a real fiscally conservative, common sense leader/party…. Things need to be cut in all government. The future is at stake here and no one is willing to deal with this, how sad, how pathetic, all of you.

  35. lol “Good for Thomas – a man with a brain”.

    Yeah – a guy who listened to Glenn Beck and afterwards thought to himself.. “You know what – I totally agree.” If that’s not evidence of a blood clot in the brain I don’t know what is.

    Why is it that people who tout “common sense” generally have no clue whatsoever about the issues that they spout on about? Why think and speak intelligently about an issue when you can just shout about scumbags and politicians and taxes?

  36. You all realize these are the same people who killed 3000 innocent people in 9/11 and used your tax money to fund it, the same people that robbed a lot of you of your homes and savings, the same people that murdered, jfk, rfk, mlk and many more. These people invade other countries for war profits, killing many of the US military to fill their pockets for maximum profit. I highly doubt it has anything to do with Obama per say, but more so the corruptness of the “organization”. And if you don’t already know, the NDAA bill was passed on New Years when everyone was out celebrating which now allows them to arrest and detain you indefinitely without trial. Bet the news didn’t let you know that. Also, bet you didn’t know your birth certificate is traded on the stock exchange, and is cashed in upon your death for profit….wilful ignorance. “Land of the free” ya right.

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