Cornwall - January 24, 2012 - In this week's installment of 30 Second Timeout we take a look at the controversy that surrounds Boston Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas. This week’s question was:
Tim Thomas of the Boston Bruins chose not to attend a team event at the
White House with President Obama. Should the Bruins have forced him to
attend? Other thoughts?
Below you will find the responses from eight of our columnists. Feel free to vote for your choices in the poll below.
Phillip Blancher - The Boston Bruins definitely should not have tried to force Tim Thomas to go to the White House. There was no contractual obligation to attend and as an American citizen, he has a First Amendment to freedom of speech. The team and fans don't have to agree with what his opinion is, but they have to respect that he has one.
Dean Eastman - Unequivocally, yes, Tim Thomas should have attended even for the reasons Thomas laid out. Thomas may be a free citizen but is also under contract with the Bruins and this was a team event that he should have been at. He is not bigger than the team and his political stand could have been done on another time. The Bruins players consider themselves to be a family and only two players are American born - how do you think his non-American teammates feel now? Disrespectful hands down.
Jon Foxall - Absolutely, the Bruins should have forced Thomas to attend the meeting with President Obama! By allowing Thomas to shrug off the White House congratulatory tradition, the Bruins have shown that at least one person is above the team. Not every player will win the Stanley Cup, and even fewer will ever get to meet the President of the United States, let alone snub him! I can hardly wait for Claude Julien's explanation on Tim's absence. Maybe Tim was going into a defensive posture.
Steve Minakakis - I don't think Tim Thomas deciding not to attend the White House is big news at all. There are too many desperate people trying to make a name for themselves by reporting irrelevant news. At least they got the information right as opposed to last Saturday when word went out that JoePa had passed away, yet he hadn't until the following day. Im even hearing people say Boston may trade Thomas as a result of not showing up. I sincerely hope nobody is gullible enough to believe that. If Thomas does get traded, I can guarantee it has nothing to do with this event. He is nearing the end of his career and a young Tuukka Rask has proven he can be a number one goalie and has patiently waited for his turn.
David Murphy -Tim Thomas has every right not to attend the annual photo op between U.S. President Barack Obama and the Stanley Cup Champions. Thomas, an American, doesn't agree with Obama's policies and chose not to attend. Kudos to the Boston Bruins for not forcing him or reprimanding him. Some media outlets are making a "how dare he" story. I don't recall the US media having any problems when Rasheed Wallace opted not to meet with then President Bush when the Detroit Pistons won a few years ago. Besides, wasn't it President George H. Bush that turned to Mario Lemieux and said "...and you are?"
Bill Payment - Tim Thomas is hard to stomach at any time, but yes the team should have forced him to attend. This is a team function at the request of his head of state. It was just plain rude on his part. This was not about the state of the union
from a hockey player, it was about the Stanley Cup and its winner. The statement he released to try to explain his position was pathetic.
Chris Savard - Tim Thomas was very selfish in his actions. The media reports today are all about his “political statement” and not about the accolades his teammates received from the President of the United States. His teammates are now answering questions about his actions. Boston Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli dropped the ball by not stepping in and requiring the rogue goaltender to attend this team function. Yesterday’s event at the White House was not political until Thomas made it political. His move was disrespectful to his team, to the City of Boston, to the President and to his own country.
Marshall Stevenson - I hate to say it but Thomas is a grown man. Nowhere does it state that as a Stanley Cup Champion (or any other champion) you must visit the White House. That being said, it's not an invite that's extended very often. The funny thing is that he's a born and bread American. Perhaps it's his political stance against the Obama administration on why he didn't go. But should the Bruins have forced him, no way. If they want to do that, get it written into the contract next time. And hey, it's free publicity for him too...maybe he's trying to get a raise?