“Right now” might not be a necessary part of the title.

A number of columns have been written today that don’t exactly paint the once-lovable Tim Thomas in a positive light.

His decision to skip the Bruins visit to the White House has set off a mini media firestorm, which Fluto Shinzawa of the Boston Globe poured gas on today. His column “Team is Used to Thomas’ Ways“ brought to light that the perception of Thomas in the B’s dressing room may not be what most of us thought it was.

The quote

 “[Expletive] selfish [expletive],’’ one team source said.

about Thomas was particularly illuminating.

I’ve already weighed in on Thomas – I think he should’ve been at the White House, and yes, I’m aware that our politics are not exactly in line and that has a lot of influence on that opinion (most Canadians will probably disagree with a guy who doesn’t believe in global warming and recycling, it’s in my blood).

Backhand Shelf wasn’t the only site to give an opinion on the the topic though…. holy crap, there’s a lot. Have fun, it’s a Timmy Thomas smorgasbord!


Team Used to Thomas’ Ways (bostonglobe.com, boston.com)

It Sounds Like The Bruins Are Ready To Say Goodbye To Tim Thomas, Free Citizen (Deadspin)

On a day for team, Thomas left them shorthanded (boston.com)

Tim Thomas Put Himself Above Team (ESPN Boston)

Haggerty: Thomas on his own as White House Distraction (CSN New England)

And Corey Schneider said… (Pass it to Bulis)

Tim Thomas: The Ugly Truth Behind His Refusal to Meet the President (Bleacher Report)

Tim Thomas skips White House visit: Did his political statement backfire? (Washington Post)

Tim Thomas Snub of the White House Might Prompt Exit From the Bruins, Globe Reports (Bloomberg)

 Tim Thomas and the Obama Snub: Free Speech or Impolitic Politics (+ Video) (Christian Science Monitor)

Bruins goalie Tim Thomas turns down White House Invite (video) (Slate)

Andy Brickley’s take (NESN)

Cam Neely disappointed Tim Thomas didn’t join Bruins for White House visit (NESN)

A different angle…

Why the Boston Bruins should shoulder blame for Tim Thomas White House mess (Puck Daddy)

And the backlash to the backlash…

Did Dave Hodge go too far with Tim Thomas tweet? (The Globe and Mail) – Hodge is hilarious on twitter by the way.


So what do you think? Is the reaction the Thomas snub too much, or deserved?

Comments (32)

  1. Bourne, believing in global warming isn’t exactly a Canadian thing. Earth has fluctuated in temperature many, many times throughout geologic time. However, if you are trying to say that the (disputed) rise in global climate is a direct result of buring fossil fuels, then please do not lump all Canadians into that category. Most educated individuals from Saskatchewan and Alberta do not share this opinion.

    • And most people outside of Alberta and Saskatchewan refer to Alberta as the Texas of Canada. “Educated” isn’t exactly the first descriptor that pops to mind when one describes people from these provinces, for better or worse.

      • Alberta actually has the best education system in Canada, some reports put it second to Finland in the world

  2. Not everyone hates his decision:

    Thing is, this has happened into other sports too (MLB and NFL for sure), and did those players get vilified to the same degree? Or is it because Thomas’ politics don’t line up with the media’s personal opinion?

    • Not to sound like a conspiracy theorist but…

      Canoe is part of Quebecor Media, which pushes a right-wing agenda in every single one of its publications. They own Sun News Network in Canada which is essentially a bad version of Fox News, complete with slanted reporting and debate shows where all they do is make inflammatory comments against left-wing political parties and groups. Quebecor is sure to support Thomas’ right-wing endeavor if only because it jives with their own views.

      Just for fun, do a quick search on Canoe for news about Obama and count the positive vs negative articles.

  3. “Most educated individuals from Saskatchewan and Alberta do not share this opinion.”

    This is an oxymoron in sooo many ways. It certainly does not say much about Saskatchewan and Alberta if these are their “educated individuals.”

    But of course someone from an oiltown chooses to believe in propaganda rather than actual research. selfish.

  4. Mostly… it was lazy. Tough decision to make “I’ll just stay home”. Boo hoo. Want to make a statement? Write a blog post. Work with a journalist. State your opinions in some detail. You don’t think that there are journalists in Boston that would sit down and write an article about his (strong and interesting) political opinions? That’s work though.

    His complete lack of real followup comes across as lazy, shallow, selfish, and yes, pretty stupid. He has all the integrity in this as his hero Glenn Beck. Willing to make a big noise, and commotion, but unable to follow up with facts or coherent thoughts. Sound bites not detail. Splash not substance.

    And like Glenn Beck, he’s been shown to be the empty suit he is. He got caught. It has affected his team negatively, and his reputation negatively.

  5. Aw, geez, Justin. I’m a tad disappointed in you.

    “Team source” is a clear sign that that particular quote didn’t come from a player. “Team source” could mean the guy who drives the Zamboni. It’s a deliberately vaugue title, used to make the quote look important. And it’s inflammatory, is why Fluto used it in his lead, rather than the shrug-we’re-used-to-it comments from teammates he uses further down. I’ve been a journalist for more than 30 years, so believe me, I’ve seen all the tricks.

    As Andrew Ference stated in another article I saw yesterday, most of these guys have been together for years, and it’s like a marriage. There are no surprises, and if Ference, probably the NHL’s most radical “lefty,” and Thomas can get along and win a Stanley Cup, how does this change anything?

    • Indeed, one would be advised to take such articles from the Globe with a grain of salt. The Boston sports media has a long-standing tradition of turning on the heroes they just finished making as soon as the wind blows a different direction, and overnight the standard media depiction of you goes from being a solid team guy and the heart of the team to a clubhouse cancer with no friends in the locker room. You haven’t really “made it” in Boston until the Globe/WEEI/etc say you’re a jerk and no one likes you.

  6. Hodge basically accused Thomas of being racist. Sorry, but that’s not funny in my book. In fact, it’s just the opposite. I’ll mark him in my “do not follow” list on Twitter. Did Hodge ever think that women have a say in naming kids? I know, crazy huh?

    Meeting with the president is a useless tradition anyways. The 2010-2011 Bruins won the cup. We’re already halfway through the 2011-2012 season. Meet in June or July. The president has better things to do than meet with athletes in a PR move.

    If the goal was to promote hockey, didn’t Thomas actually help? It has caused a stir. One that definitely would not have been there if he went. The Bruins can bench Thomas just like they did earlier in the year for Seguin. Being a believer in free citizens, I’m sure he would say the Bruins have that right if they feel that is the necessary.

    • I laughed at that tweet because my sisters and I are KK&K and it’s actually a common joke (or people say, so you guys are KKK…. and trail off because they aren’t sure if they can make a joke.) As a family we’ve always laughed about and treated it as not a big deal. I didn’t for a second think the tweet was to be taken seriously. Clearly, based on the responses of many it crossed a line for too many folks but for me it wasn’t anything new or outrageous.

  7. Tim Thomas didn’t say he doesn’t believe in Global Warming, he said he believes the theories are being pushed prior to being fully vetted as fact to push the current green industry.

    Do five seconds of research. He is right.

    Projections have consistently missed. The original hockey curve on temperature change is even in dispute (as first raised by a Canadian, Steve McIntyre, no, not the goon).

    Just look up the emails consistently leaked by various parts of the climate change scientific community and you find they are catty and politically motivated. It is sad really.

    I think it is much more scary to just blindly go on what is subjectively given to media who have no clue what they are talking about to report to the rest of us.

    For the record, I believe humans have had an impact on climate change, and bring my own bags to the grocery store.

  8. If he was a liberal, he would be lauded for taking advantage of his freedom of speech, but because he isn’t a liberal, he is criticized for making a statement.

    Liberals believe in free speech so long as what is said doesn’t go against their agenda. That is exactly why this comment won’t make it to the comments section.

  9. The “Office of the President” invited the team, including Thomas, to the White House. Barack Obama did not extend a personal invitation to the team or any individual of the Bruins. It should be an honor to be called upon by the Highest Office in the Land, however you feel about the current holder of that office. It wasn’t ok for Jordan to skip out, it wasn’t ok for the few who passed up George W., it most certainly isn’t ok for Thomas.

    I agree and disagree with with Wysh said about Thomas. He’s not a coward, he’s not being racist. He made a bold choice. However, it is also equally bold to be star on the Jersey Shore. Bold is good, bold combined with shortsighted, selfish, and political delivered in an inarticulate way is not. I feel bad for the rest of team who aren’t going to be asked about how they felt about the visit beyond what they thought of their goalie skipping out on them – that their memories are going to be colored by the actions of a coworker.

    Beyond principle and respect for the Presidency, even if Thomas had gone, no matter how you slice it, a guy who doesn’t believe in recycling doesn’t deserve my respect. I feel like I should go buy a Luongo jersey in reaction.

    • “The “Office of the President” invited the team, including Thomas, to the White House. Barack Obama did not extend a personal invitation to the team or any individual of the Bruins. It should be an honor to be called upon by the Highest Office in the Land, however you feel about the current holder of that office. It wasn’t ok for Jordan to skip out, it wasn’t ok for the few who passed up George W., it most certainly isn’t ok for Thomas.”

      I don’t get this, at all. Why is it an honor to meet the sociopath in charge? I’ve met my fair share of politicians, admittedly not the POTUS, but in all honesty I wouldn’t think about it as an honor. It’s just one more thing I’d have to buy a new suit for and try to choke out some polite words with someone who I think is doing a terrible job, admittedly in a job that is difficult to begin with, and its not that his competition would do better, but the body of work is still terrible. Where is the honor? I really don’t get the idolization and deification of the office or the person in it – particularly when they are doing a shitty job.

      • oh wow that was a pretentious reply

      • Well said. I really wouldn’t care to meet with any of the president’s since I have been alive.

        And I don’t understand why it is such an honor to be called to meet the president. It’s not like he wants to sit down with the Bruins and talk how to get more kids involved in hockey or other sports, or even bestow a great honor upon them. He wants to follow the tradition (which I think is a dumb tradition) and say congratulations.

  10. He’s a goalie, for heaven’s sake. those headhunter shots and mask saves surely have taken their toll. I suggest if Thomas is serious about developing his image as an intellectual, he get in touch with Ken Dryden.

  11. Cheap, toothless, selfish demonstration. If Thomas’s political beliefs had any teeth he’d refuse to play in any arena named after a bank.

    • No. You make the statements where you can, and otherwise do what life needs you to do get by and be successful. He has no control over the latter (playing in an arena named after X), because he’s a hockey player and that is how the teams make money to pay him. He has control over whether or not he wants to go shmooze with a politician. Oh, and right, before someone slams me with some political slur etc. I don’t like TT as a Vancvouer fan, or in terms of his political views, but who gives a shit. He’s a good hockey player and I enjoy watching him play, but if I gave 2 Zimbabwean dollars about what he thinks outside of hockey I shouldn’t be allowed to vote in the first place.

  12. If you’re going to stand up on a soap box – at least have something to say when you get there. Everyone keeps saying Tim is entitled to his opinion. Other than one facebook paragraph about the constitution and eluding that the Founding Fathers wouldn’t like government V.2012 – I don’t really see a coherent protest.

    Ya, I bet the slave owning, elite-class, super-rich, white guys who framed the constitution would have really objected to modern day super-rich, elite-class white guys using their status and wealth to control the American population…

    • You do realize that not all the founding fathers were rich right? It’s been reported Sam Adams had one suit, and that was given to him by the community which he represented so he looked presentable. Some of them even went bankrupt after the constitution was written.

      And I’d be willing to bet the founding fathers wouldn’t be a fan of the rights we have been stripped of.

  13. There would be none of this media backlash against Thomas if George Bush were in office. That, I can promise you.

    • That’s because there is pretty general agreement amongst the left and right that he was a moron… (I’m KIDDING :-)

    • That’s because Thomas would have probably gone if George Bush was in office.

  14. my the nhl was a sport for me growing in the 70s and slowly turned in to the wwf/wwe…what does politics have to do whit it . im long time bruin fan .im tired of those leafs fans 67 remember i dont and its gonna be a long time cummin for a cup may hortons .go thomas and bbb…

  15. man this whole situation is confusing the crap out of me. i initially heard about him refusing to go, and thought how cool and non-boring it would be if it were actually political or something instead of just him not being able to go – so i heard about the reason and all, blah blah, that was pretty much the end of that. who cares, i thought.

    apparently people actually care? am i missing something? person A did not go to place B to have a guided tour of place B due to personal beliefs. why is this anyone else’s business? why are people calling him ‘selfish’? what or who is he letting down? what does it affect the team if he’s there?

    can someone please explain?

  16. I wouldn’t want to waste my time to see Pres. Obama either!!!

  17. I am Canadian and left-leaning in my political views.

    However, I think Thomas did the right thing. I was going to get into this debate on twitter a few nights ago while watching the State of the Union, but I decided against it.

    There is always talk about how people of influence, no matter what the influence is, should try and use their public persona for the good of the people or cause or whatever.

    The first point with this is: “Who defines what is good?” Tim Thomas has political beliefs and stood behind them. People try to define things in black and white terms when really, most things are a shade of grey. Isn’t that why baseball is such a frustrating sport? Get a large enough of a sample size and you can forecast average performance. The only problem, there is no such thing as an average game. Each game is unique in and of itself. Each political agenda is unique in and of itself. Telling what agenda items are right or wrong, especially when doing so because the idea is affiliated with a specific political party, is illogical and perhaps worse, dangerous. So Tim Thomas standing up for his political beliefs is bad but Che Guevara is a hero? Again, it all comes back to who defines the terms under which Thomas is being criticized.

    The second point (and I’m not trying to go all Bryzgalov on the topic) but Hockey is just a game. In the grand scheme of life and the universe, hockey does not matter. How many of these games have come and gone in human history without really affecting the course of human history? Politics, however, does. The decision by the United States to go to war in Iraq, for example, will affect the course of human history much more than the decision by Tim Thomas not going to the White House. Example: Important events of US history between 1980 and 2020 would include the fall of the berlin wall and end of the cold war, the end of apartheid and a new wave in civil rights, and Tim Thomas didn’t visit the White House after the Bruins won the Cup causing a massive plague.

    Which one of those seems least likely?

    The third point is something I haven’t read yet, but may have missed: Tim Thomas is one of THREE US-born players on the team. Personally, I’ve always found the generic American’s sense of patriotism a little annoying but I understand it. Patriotism is part of the culture and it can come in the form of political opinion. Maybe Kampfer and Corvo don’t have as strong opinions; maybe they are democrats; maybe their lives didn’t result in them being as motivated to have political views as strong as Thomas’. Regardless, you cannot fault a person for being passionate about political views. They may not be in line with your views but that’s the point of liberty: the ability to form one’s own opinion and stand behind it. As Canadians, I think we lose sight of this because our system isn’t setup to have one person as Commander and Chief. Our politics is more regionally-focused.

    How about the fourth point: I don’t see this move as any different from other political statements. What about G20 or G8 protesters? Would Thomas be looked upon as negatively if he were a part of the “Occupy” movements on Wall Street? What about the boycotts of the 1980 and 1984 Olypmics? These were politically motivated because of the actions of the host country. In 1980, several nations boycotted because of an Afghanistan invasion by the USSR. In 1984, some Eastern Bloc countries boycotted the US-hosted Olympics in response. The games themselves have been used for political statements as well. And yet Tim Thomas not visiting the White House is seemingly getting more ink. What has happened to journalism these days?

  18. Did Tim Thomas turtle?

  19. I was listening to Wednesday’s BHS podcast and Justin made an excellent point about Thomas: You can’t expect to do something that has this big of a statement and then not talk to the media about it. I posted that I supported the move because this is just hockey and in the grand scheme of things it really has little impact on the course of humanity. However, when making a statement as Thomas did, you have to make yourself available to the media and you must understand that you’ve open yourself up to public scrutiny.

    Think about when Ali went against the draft and war in Vietnam: He dodged the army because of his beliefs. But he didn’t dodge the draft publicly and then avoid the media and public scrutiny. No, he answered his critics.

    That’s one example of many in the modern broadcasting era.

    So thank you JTB for making that point. I agree completely. To Tim Thomas, I love the statement but get some balls and back it up pal.

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