Join 3,572 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


Stanley Cup-winning Boston Bruins goaltender and Free Citizen Tim Thomas skips White House dinner
January 24, 2012 2:12 PM   Subscribe

One of only two American players on the 2010/2011 Boston Bruins team, goaltender Tim Thomas skipped a White House event to honor the team's Stanley Cup championship victory for political reasons. Reactions have been numerous and mixed.
posted by Hoopo (58 comments total)

 
Eh. Goalies.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:16 PM on January 24, 2012 [3 favorites]


Fuck 'im.
posted by Edison Carter at 2:18 PM on January 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


The guy takes pucks to the head for a living. His idol, Glen Beck, has no such excuse.
posted by found missing at 2:18 PM on January 24, 2012 [5 favorites]


Even a winner can be a sore loser.
posted by 2bucksplus at 2:19 PM on January 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


Nothing I'm seeing in these links makes this seem like it would be even slightly important. Why would anyone care?
posted by biffa at 2:19 PM on January 24, 2012 [5 favorites]


I can't help but think you should never take people who can't use capital letters correctly seriously.

I mean, I can sort of see declining the invitation as a matter of principle if one thought the government was going to use it to bolster themselves. But, if he had gone, no one outside of Boston would have even known the team went.
posted by hoyland at 2:20 PM on January 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


Respect the office, not the man, right? Or does that only apply when Republicans are in office?
posted by reformedjerk at 2:22 PM on January 24, 2012 [6 favorites]


And Obama was thiiiiiiiiis close to treading on him, too. Good call, patriot, crisis averted!
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 2:22 PM on January 24, 2012 [6 favorites]


A Toronto Star columnist imagines President Obama's response.
posted by New Frontier at 2:24 PM on January 24, 2012 [6 favorites]


Nothing I'm seeing in these links makes this seem like it would be even slightly important. Why would anyone care?

OK, OK, I removed the "important" tag
posted by Hoopo at 2:25 PM on January 24, 2012 [4 favorites]


Goalies are weird, but even if he wants to cast this ceremonial event as a political thing, it's a shitty thing to do to his teammates. It puts them in the awkward position of having to answer questions from the press about his political decision. If he didn't want to go, he shouldn't have made such a big deal about not going in the first place.

tl;dr: douchebag teammate.
posted by KingEdRa at 2:27 PM on January 24, 2012


You know, at first I bristled at this, but be honest: most of us would be proud of any athlete who refused to visit the Bush White House.

Go on. Admit it.
posted by downing street memo at 2:29 PM on January 24, 2012 [20 favorites]


Well to be fair, during the last administration, I had thoughts that if, for some reason, I got invited to the White House, I would have very publicly turned down the invitation.

So there it is. The guy missed a chance to see the White House. Maybe he'll regret it and maybe not, but I cannot see why this is such a big deal.
posted by Danf at 2:29 PM on January 24, 2012


The guy doesn't want to meet the President, because he believes it conflicts with his personal values--and those values aren't something offensive like white supremacy, he just thinks the Federal government is too big and intrusive (which, really, is hard to argue against). The President's not a king or a pope; you're not compelled to accept his invitations.

Maybe it's a sign of our degraded times, but anytime I see anyone act out of principle instead of expediency or convenience I'm surprised and impressed regardless of his or her political bent.
posted by Nahum Tate at 2:32 PM on January 24, 2012 [9 favorites]


His choice, his loss, sucks for his teammates. He could probably learn something from Tim Wrightman.
Why I’m going to the White House: Out of all the players from the ’85 Bears arriving on October 7th, I would probably say I am the most conservative. I live in the reddest of red states (Idaho) and I make a living with guns (owner of Lazy Bear Ranch)…I am also not a fan of the policies of the current President; however this is a celebration for the achievement of a great football team not a political rally."
posted by TwoWordReview at 2:33 PM on January 24, 2012 [13 favorites]


Ice burn.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 2:42 PM on January 24, 2012


Wow. All of a sudden, the Vancouver rioters are a touch classier, just a teeny tiny bit.
posted by Capt. Renault at 2:43 PM on January 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


Time to drag out my Shanny story, and why I can't follow the Red Wings since he left. (Aside from the fact he was my fave for other reasons and I'm just not that much into hockey anymore anyway.)

After he became a US citizen he said he was voting Dem (IIRC this was '04). Said he'd had big discussions with some of the other guys who were voting Bush because it'd be better for their tax bracket. Shanny tried to persuade them it wasn't best for the country as a whole.

I hate being reminded that athletes/ entertainers I sort of like are in actuality the same sort of spoiled, entitled, sheltered rich douchebags as someone who works at Goldman Sachs.

BTW speaking of sports/politics, guess there's been some sort of controversy at the Aussie Open. Margaret Court - who has a stadium named after her - made an anti-gay-marriage remark. (This on the heels of other ugly incidents there.) I read that one - just one - young player wore a rainbow headband onto Court's court afterward in protest.
posted by NorthernLite at 2:44 PM on January 24, 2012 [4 favorites]


The President's not a king or a pope

The President is also not the entire Federal Government. And although it's moot, even a "small" Federal Government would still include an Executive branch. Perhaps the "principal" at work here may not necessarily be what you think it is.
posted by tommasz at 2:46 PM on January 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


Wow. All of a sudden, the Vancouver rioters are a touch classier, just a teeny tiny bit.

Declining dinner invitation from guy who signs assassination orders -- not very "classy."
posted by grobstein at 2:46 PM on January 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


One wonders how many other times in his life Tim Thomas will have an opportunity to meet a President of the United States face to face, shake his hand, look him in the eye, and tell the President that he is an unworthy troglodyte who is part of a massive bipartisan conspiracy to corrupt the Constitution, subdue the will of Real Americans and deny Ron Paul his rightful place as Grand Poobah.

Heck, I'm a liberal and I'd be tempted to do that just to see what he'd say.
posted by delfin at 2:48 PM on January 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


This has been driving me nuts. Here I was loving the old guy who gets one more shot at the Big Show and turns into an amazing goaltender and actually brings the Bruins (you remember, that horrible organization owned by Jeremy Jacobs who only cares about hot dog sales) to a Stanley Cup.

Turns out he's one of them. These whiny sacks of shit who've spent the last 2 years crying about the plight of White Christian Males and their natural habitat. I guess they decided being actively aggressive during the Clinton Administration didn't work. Now they just cry about how everything has gone to shit (DOG WHISTLE!) without considering when that started or that everything in life happens on a continuum and we're all in this together regardless of beliefs.

Some shitdick called "Felger & Mazz" (Boston sports show) today to complain Felger's use of the phrase "those people" to refer to Fox News viewers was, and I shit you not, "racist".
posted by yerfatma at 2:51 PM on January 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


"Before, I just thought of Thomas as an inexplicably good goalie. Now I wonder how he squares his free education at a public university, his union membership and his place of work being a publicly-funded arena with Glenn Beck being his personal hero." - from the comments here

Also referenced there is this tweet: "Can’t wait for September when Tim Thomas will no doubt still believe that billionaire business owners should have the right to crush unions."
posted by Copronymus at 2:51 PM on January 24, 2012 [15 favorites]


If the dude doesn't want to meet the President, that's his choice, I suppose. I think it's a little shitty to inject politics into something that is a polite formality rather than something with real political intent, but sometimes an awkward conversation is better than compromising your values, such as they are.

I wonder if he's also upset about the Out of CONTROL government that spent $60 million dollars on the building he's playing in tonight, as well. I hope he speaks up as loudly on this issue, which costs people real money, as he is on the fundamentally meaningless offer to have a grip-and-grin with Obama.
posted by Homeboy Trouble at 2:54 PM on January 24, 2012 [10 favorites]


You know, at first I bristled at this, but be honest: most of us would be proud of any athlete who refused to visit the Bush White House.

Go on. Admit it.
posted by downing street memo at 2:29 PM on January 24 [5 favorites +] [!]


Cameronysterical.
posted by chavenet at 2:58 PM on January 24, 2012


Go on. Admit it.

You'd be wrong. President Obama has more importance VS some sports figure.

Not much, but President Obama signs bills. Sports dud doesn't care unless it effects him.
posted by rough ashlar at 3:11 PM on January 24, 2012


Well to be fair, during the last administration, I had thoughts that if, for some reason, I got invited to the White House, I would have very publicly turned down the invitation.

---

Dear Mrs. Bush,

I am writing to let you know why I am not able to accept your kind invitation to give a presentation at the National Book Festival on September 24, or to attend your dinner at the Library of Congress or the breakfast at the White House. ...

... I could not face the idea of breaking bread with you. I knew that if I sat down to eat with you, it would feel to me as if I were condoning what I see to be the wild, highhanded actions of the Bush Administration.

What kept coming to the fore of my mind was that I would be taking food from the hand of the First Lady who represents the Administration that unleashed this war and that wills its continuation, even to the extent of permitting "extraordinary rendition": flying people to other countries where they will be tortured for us.

So many Americans who had felt pride in our country now feel anguish and shame, for the current regime of blood, wounds and fire. I thought of the clean linens at your table, the shining knives and the flames of the candles, and I could not stomach it.

Sincerely,

Sharon Olds

posted by Trurl at 3:14 PM on January 24, 2012 [3 favorites]


How interesting that he claims he is making a stand in opposition to all branches of the federal government, yet he donated "generously" to Freedomworks.org, which was founded "to run major voter education campaigns and Get-Out-the-Vote (GOTV) efforts in key races" and spent $10+ million in 2010 to get certain candidates elected to serve in the federal government.
posted by argonauta at 3:15 PM on January 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


I suspect I would disagree with Mr. Thomas on most everything, but he is taking a stand. I would do the same in his place, but for different reasons.

I would not go to the White House and shake Mr. Obama's hand any more than I would go to a ceremony hosted by Dick Cheney or Slobadan Milosevic or any other war criminal. It's not like he's skipping a game; I think Mr. Thomas is perfectly within his rights to boycott a ceremony for ethical reasons. Sports need more people thinking beyond "gotta support the team, bro", not less.
posted by drjimmy11 at 3:23 PM on January 24, 2012 [4 favorites]


I think James Harrison's reason for skipping the White House visit was better expressed and made more sense
posted by toodleydoodley at 3:28 PM on January 24, 2012 [3 favorites]


He provided a perfectly clear explanation of his decision, so as far as I'm concerned it's a non-issue. Had his refusal statement been full of bizarre ramblings, it would be a lot more interesting.
posted by cell divide at 3:30 PM on January 24, 2012


He passed up a possible opportunity to speak to the President about his concerns. Oh well.

I am always fascinated by the specifics of people expressing concerns about radical changes in policies or economics, and when they think these changes occurred. Because people are interesting.
posted by dglynn at 3:34 PM on January 24, 2012


Nothing I'm seeing in these links makes this seem like it would be even slightly important. Why would anyone care?

OK, OK, I removed the "important" tag


Or you could explain why this is an issue?
posted by biffa at 3:42 PM on January 24, 2012


Could you explain what an issue is?
posted by found missing at 3:45 PM on January 24, 2012


Yeah, tempest in a tea pot for real. He shouldn't be compelled to go and he shouldn't be punished for not going (I'm seeing a "Bruins should fire him" trend in comments on sports blogs). We, of course, have the right to consider him a moron for not going and to agree that we wouldn't want to have a photo taken with him now that we know his political stance.
posted by Joey Michaels at 3:51 PM on January 24, 2012


Or you could explain why this is an issue?

Hi biffa

Tim Thomas is in most people's estimation one of, if not the, best goaltender playing today, and just came off a spectacular season where he set a save % record and was MVP of the Stanley Cup playoffs, and for that reason alone it might be interesting to hockey fans like myself. This is evidenced by the fairly massive reaction on sports websites and blogs, and widespread coverage in news media, and the huge response in their respective comment sections. Furthermore, hockey players are notorious for reciting stock phrases when interviewed, offering precious little that would hint at their political views or personal opinions.

In terms of "importance", I'm not sure where you see importance implied. It's a sports story with political overtones and I do not believe anyone has said otherwise, or that this is like Ali dodging the draft or something. I've now told you why some people might care, and it's really no different that why someone would care about kitty videos or My Little Pony. Now if you're asking me why you, personally, should care? I don't know, biffa, you chose to come here and complain, so why don't you tell me?
posted by Hoopo at 4:03 PM on January 24, 2012 [6 favorites]


I think James Harrison's reason for skipping the White House visit was better expressed and made more sense

Lest you miss the genius subtlety in this comment, allow me to ruin it by calling out James Harrison's logic.
posted by yerfatma at 4:06 PM on January 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


Hoopo, you seem to have taken this as an attack on your FPP, when my question related to the issue. As far as I can see the story is someone decided not to visit the White House because he doesn't agree with the politics of the person in the White House. That seems like a reasonable decision and hardly significant as a news story. So why is it? Is a trip to the WH so great a cultural norm that this can be a transgression that somehow registers as a national scandal? It seems astonishing that this might be so, which could indeed be interesting, but the focus of your FPP seemed more on the rejected invitation than on what the reaction signifies.
posted by biffa at 4:16 PM on January 24, 2012


I'm conflicted, because I do understand the idea of protesting government policy by publicly turning down an invitation, but to couch it in such wishy-washy bullshit like "Oh, I'm against big government and it's the Democrats and Republicans fault equally and I'm protesting all government, so I'm not going" strikes me as craven. I have a very, very hard time believing he'd have turned down an invitation from a Republican president.
posted by MegoSteve at 4:19 PM on January 24, 2012 [3 favorites]


biffa what's your deal?

..the focus of your FPP seemed more on the rejected invitation than on what the reaction signifies.

The FPP is one sentence with four links, three of which are about the gamut of reactions. There's no editorializing here whatsoever, and if your beef is with the post existing at all, you must not see all the daily fluff and SLYTs.
posted by june made him a gemini at 4:45 PM on January 24, 2012


I appreciate how he attempted to be sly about it by not really explaining his position in clear terms and making it out to be some sort of non-partisan thing, but at the same time, he's the guy with the tea party logo on his mask. He should get an account, because he is clearly a budding master at concern trolling.

Of course, by appreciate I mean that I face palmed so hard that I'm seeing stars and super gluing my glasses back together.
posted by feloniousmonk at 5:10 PM on January 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


Northernlite wrote: there's been some sort of controversy at the Aussie Open. Margaret Court - who has a stadium named after her ...

I think you'll find that the playing area has been called a "court" for some time.

(Link to a report on the controversy)
posted by Joe in Australia at 5:26 PM on January 24, 2012


Is a trip to the WH so great a cultural norm that this can be a transgression that somehow registers as a national scandal?

The championship teams of all major US sports get a congratulatory call from the President and/or an invitation to visit the White House and meet the President, which is a fairly longstanding tradition. e.g. NJ Devils, 2003; Florida State, 1994; NY Mets, 1986.

The purpose of the visit is essentially entirely ceremonial; it doesn't matter if the team won by fluke, or they're a bunch of assholes or whatever. It is generally understood that the visit doesn't mean that the President is saying he prefers the Boston Bruins to other hockey clubs (nor the Chicago Blackhawks, the year before), and it doesn't mean that the Boston Bruins support Obama's policies.

Because of its' essentially apolitical nature, (and because of his key role as a player in the victory, as Hoopo described above), Thomas rejecting the invitation on political grounds is notable. Think of it as declining a knighthood or something.
posted by Homeboy Trouble at 5:38 PM on January 24, 2012



The guy doesn't want to meet the President, because he believes it conflicts with his personal values--and those values aren't something offensive like white supremacy, he just thinks the Federal government is too big and intrusive (which, really, is hard to argue against). The President's not a king or a pope; you're not compelled to accept his invitations.

Maybe it's a sign of our degraded times, but anytime I see anyone act out of principle instead of expediency or convenience I'm surprised and impressed regardless of his or her political bent.


Amen. I might not be American but I'm a pretty big Vancouver Canucks fan, and as such I'm supposed to hatehatehate Tim Thomas. But I never have, he just seems like such an oddly likable weirdo, a rarity in pro hockey, and this action has actually raised my opinion of him. I was reading about this yesterday before he made his facebook post, and it sounded like he tried his best to keep it from becoming a 'thing', but the media blew it up and forced him to explain his stance.
posted by mannequito at 6:05 PM on January 24, 2012


it's a little shitty to inject politics into something that is a polite formality rather than something with real political intent...

The purpose of the visit is essentially entirely ceremonial...

Because of its' essentially apolitical nature...


Something about that framing seems a little off. "Entirely ceremonial" and "political" aren't mutually exclusive. You don't have to get too deep into pomo theory or anything to recognize the political nature of this kind of handshake event. Any president's Karl Rove equivalent understands the value of this kind of thing - presenting the president as a regular joe, accepting and being accepted by this year's winner in one of the most popular sports in the country. I can understand and at least partially respect anyone, like Sharon Olds in Trurl's related example, who decides that participating in a feelgood photo op like that is not something they feel comfortable doing.

I also think James Harrison's "essentially apolitical" response to being invited to the White House was kinda funny and sharply pointed in a way I liked. Might be just me, though.
posted by mediareport at 6:09 PM on January 24, 2012


Federal spending exploded under Bush II, as did encroachments on civil liberties.

For some reason, guys like this asshat didn't have a problem with a white president doing it.
posted by bardic at 6:48 PM on January 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


Chris Jacke did something similar to Clinton.
posted by drezdn at 8:33 PM on January 24, 2012


The guy doesn't want to meet the President, because he believes it conflicts with his personal values--and those values aren't something offensive like white supremacy,

As if.

This guy is a frikken tea party supporter, and a fan of Glen Beck. This is a demographic which represents pretty much the epitome of mindless hatefulness in American public discourse. The supporters of these two filthy infestations of the body politic stand for a platform of racism, homophobia, misogyny, ignorance, hypocrisy, and lunatic conspiracy theories. He's a mendacious prevaricator, lacking the courage of his ignorant convictions.

He's free to decline to attend, but his cowardly attempt to evince neutrality in this show-boating is about as believable as Fox News' claim to be fair and balanced.
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 8:47 PM on January 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


Good for him. Protest is patriotism.
posted by Errant at 9:03 PM on January 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


The problem was that his statement said he would not discuss the issue the media. His teammates, on the other hand are going to have to discuss the issue with the media. If you're going to make a very public political gesture, you should at least have the courgage of your convictions and be willing to stand up to the scrutuiny of the public. You can't go "President X sucks!" and then leave your teammates stuck answering questions from the press because you don't want to talk about it.

He could have declined the invitation privately (laying out his reasons for doing so) and then he would be justified in not speaking to the press. Instead, he chose to issue a public statement without allowing anyone the chance to ask him about why he chose to do what he did. If you really believe in what you're saying, you should have no problem talking about it. Instead, he took the coward's way out by putting other people on the line about his decision. Fuck this guy. Whatever his politics, this was no protest. This was a cheap publicity stunt.
posted by KingEdRa at 10:34 PM on January 24, 2012


dglynn: He passed up a possible opportunity to speak to the President about his concerns. Oh well.

I keep seeing this around the web and it's incredibly disingenuous. No one had an audience with the President. The team stood there politely for ten minutes as Obama made a quick speech and posed for some photos, then shook some hands and left. Any attempt to engage him would have been shut down by his handlers. The man is on a very tight schedule.

Thomas should have gone to be with his teammates and keep the story about the team. Plus, the White House is a cool thing to see, whatever your political beliefs, and he may never get a chance to see it again without standing on line. But pretending that he skipped a chance to discuss his opinions with the President is just absurd.
posted by swerve at 10:43 PM on January 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


He's within his rights not to go, for whatever reason. I think he let his team down by not going, and could have been classier about doing it. I think the team's response was the correct one, by saying it's a personal matter. He's showing flawed judgement by refusing to go, but that does seem to be par for the course for a Glenn Beck fan.

Sorry, couldn't resist a sports analogy.
posted by arcticseal at 10:47 PM on January 24, 2012


At last, this weird punk album is vaguely apropos: The Goalkeeper's Fear Of The Piss​-​Up.
posted by Abiezer at 11:09 PM on January 24, 2012


He has three kids: Kiley, Kelsey, and Keegan. I think there is more than just politics as to why he didn't go to hang with President Obama.
posted by Renoroc at 4:33 AM on January 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


Chris Jacke did something similar to Clinton.

As did his teammate, Mark Chmura, saying, "It doesn't really say much for society and the morals [Clinton] sets forth for our children."

And then Chmura got arrested for sexually assaulting his 17 year old babysitter, which I suppose proves that he was right about society and the irresistible draw of Clintonesque morality.
posted by Copronymus at 5:35 AM on January 25, 2012 [6 favorites]


Is a trip to the WH so great a cultural norm that this can be a transgression that somehow registers as a national scandal?


Interestingly, traditional American etiquette would suggest that an invitation to the White House is the only invitation that one may not simply decline with no reason.
posted by jacquilynne at 7:59 AM on January 25, 2012


He has three kids: Kiley, Kelsey, and Keegan. I think there is more than just politics as to why he didn't go to hang with President Obama.

Sure, maybe he also didn't want the names of his fucking kids dredged up as a reason to unsubtly imply that he's a white supremacist. I'd probably skip dinner too.
posted by Errant at 10:25 AM on January 25, 2012


Looks like Tim Thomas is now weighing in on religious issues too. They're speculating he is taking a stand against religious employers' health plans having to cover birth control. I'm starting to wonder if he isn't trying to get traded.
posted by Hoopo at 5:00 PM on February 9, 2012


« Older It's just another clever colour matching game....   |   Google announces privacy setti... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments