This isn’t a sport column, but I felt the need this week to talk about Davison’s Tim Thomas and his recent — and controversial — decision not to join his teammates, the Stanley Cup Champion Boston Bruins, for a visit to the White House for a ceremony where the hockey team was honored by President Barack Obama.
Thomas declined the invitation saying he believes the government “is out of control.” His decision has caused a stir, at home and around the country.
Some people have said he should have been a good “team player” and went with his teammates to the White House. Others have said he was right to stand up for his beliefs.
Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, a Democrat, said in a recent interview he thinks Thomas showed disrespect toward the presidency and added: “It just feels like we are losing in this country basic courtesy and grace.”
At first I had some of the same feelings. Maybe he should have gone, regardless of his sentiments toward our government. But the more I’ve thought about it, I think he was right.
Thomas demonstrated great personal conviction by refusing the invitation. Why should he have to go to the White House, put on his happy face and make himself a poster child for the administration? Let’s face it, even though this was a ceremony to honor the Bruins for their Stanley Cup victory, the president uses the ceremony as a photo op to make himself look good in an election year.
Maybe in better times such a move could be considered rude, as Gov. Patrick has indicated, but Thomas is right — our political system is out of control. And it’s not just the office of the president, or liberals or conservatives, it’s everything about the system.
Politicians have tarnished and disrespected the office of the president, not the Tim Thomas’ of the world.
More people should stand up for what they believe in — and if he feels going to the White House and putting on a happy face goes against his beliefs, then he shouldn’t go.
The problem is our government doesn’t want to admit it’s broken. Politicians want sports figures like Thomas to help them put a happy, proud, 100-percent American spin on their own failures.
I personally think it’s time we stop pretending everything is OK in America and start addressing the real problems at hand. Jobs, taxes, inequality, health care, homelessness, dependence on foreign oil — these are the issues Washington, D.C., needs to concern itself with, not whether a hockey player turns down an invitation to be honored at the White House.
Frankly, I’d like to see a few more Tim Thomases out there who aren’t just going to go along with the status quo. If the president, the Democrats or the Republicans think it’s rude maybe it’s time to consider why a man who was named Most Valuable Player in the Stanley Cup Playoffs turned down an invitation from the highest office in the nation, where he would have been celebrated along with his team as a champion?