Clarksville, TN – Boston Bruins goalie Tim Thomas is certainly a proud American and as one is well within his right to follow his heart and his Constitutional right to voice his opinion as we are guaranteed by the First Amendment: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
Thomas chose to show his dissatisfaction about the current state of politics by not joining his team when they were honored by President Barack Obama on Monday for winning the Stanley Cup. Thomas was instrumental in the Bruins winning their first Stanley Cup since 1972 and earned the Conn Smythe Trophy MVP honors for his efforts, becoming only the second American ever to win said award.
On his Facebook page Thomas laid out his reason for not attending the event with his team saying:
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.
Honestly, Thomas’ premise is thoughtful and well presented.
And digging further in Thomas’ isn’t even the first to snub a President’s invitation for his team to come to the White House.
The Christian Science Monitor — http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Sports/2012/0124/Tim-Thomas-Six-other-athletes-who-snubbed-the-White-House/Dan-Hampton — found six athletes who decided not to attend a White House ceremony with their team: the Chicago Bears’ Dan Hampton this past year, the Pittsburgh Steelers’ James Harrison did it twice to President George Bush in 2006 and to President Obama in 2009, Green Bay Packers tight end Mark Chmura did it in 1997, the Boston Red Sox’s Manny Ramierz was absent in 2007, the Chicago Bulls’ Michael Jordan had other things to do in 1991 and the Boston Celtics’ Larry Bird didn’t go in 1984.
Hampton’s was partially motivated by his dislike for the present administration and because the event happened 25 years after the Bears’ were first invited. The Bears initial visit was canceled in 1986 because of the Challenger space shuttle accident happened two days before the visit: “It’s my own personal choice,” the Hall of Fame defensive lineman told The Mully and Hanley radio show. “I don’t choose to go. Secondly, I’m not a fan of the guy in the White House, and third, it was 25 years ago. Let it go. It basically just rolled off our backs, and now, 25 years later to say, ‘Let’s put the band back together.’ No, I’m not in.”
Chmura also didn’t go for political reasons. He didn’t go to protest President Bill Clinton’s involvement with Monica Lewinsky. “I knew it all along,” Chmura told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel when the Monica Lewinsky scandal broke. “It doesn’t really say much for society and the morals [Clinton] sets forth for our children.”
It was ironic that three years later in 2000, Chmura was charged with third-degree sexual assault and child enticement after he allegedly assaulted his children’s 17-year-old baby-sitter at a post-prom party in April of 2000. He was found not guilty in a later trial.
Harrison, Jordan and Bird didn’t go because, basically they had other things to do.
The problem is Thomas, Hampton, Harrison, Ramierz, Chmura, Jordan and Bird were all wrong for not going to the White House.
Each person put themselves ahead of the team and that goes against everything we’re taught about team sports, the first being there is no ‘I’ in team.
Thomas, could have voiced his opinion, as is his right, and still gone with his team to be honored because of the accomplishment they made together.
Thomas’ not going sends the wrong message to children, a message that says it’s OK to put yourself ahead of the team and it never is when it comes to team sports.