Sports like hockey, football, baseball, basketball, soccer (fútbol for those outside the US) and others are about team, and trying to succeed as such. It’s the perfect combination of individual talent coming together to fill specific roles which leads to success and eventually championships. Among the four major team sporting leagues, the winning of a championship is punctuated by the parade down the streets of the winning city to celebrate with the fans, followed by the traditional visit to the White House to be recognized by the sitting President himself (or herself as the case should eventually become).
This year, the Boston Bruins were the winners of the Stanley Cup in the NHL playoffs, and were the invitees to the White House. Their goalie and MVP, Tim Thomas, decided against making the trip with the teammates he worked so hard to reach the pinnacle of the sport beside. The reasoning from his Facebook page:
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. TT
I have no problems with anyone taking a stand for what they believe in. I have no problem with Mr. Thomas voicing his displeasure with the current state of the government. I am not condemning him for having an opinion or being patriotic (heck, I happen to believe that this is the greatest country in the world, and would never want to live anywhere else). My problem was with the terms of his excuse.
If the decision to stay home “was not about politics or party…” as he claims, then why is he using the state of the government as his reason for not attending. This event has nothing to do with politics. It never has. It is a tradition of celebrating a championship season in a sport in front of the entire country. It’s not just a celebration for republicans, democrats, independents, or others. There is no correlation between these visits and endorsing a campaign or bill. This is about celebrating team, nothing more.
There have been players who are from countries that the United States has had issues with in the past. There have been outspoken players whose views differ from those of the sitting president at the time. There have been players who outright didn’t like government period. They all participated in this event because for that one day, it wasn’t about politics, but about the team and what it had accomplished.
No one should question the man for his beliefs or the where he stands on certain political issues. Every man and woman has the right to an opinion and to be able to voice those feelings. Anyone who says otherwise, or who speaks out against Mr. Thomas for voicing his opinions is themselves, unpatriotic. The issue here is Tim Thomas decided to make this about the individual, choosing a poor platform to make his own opinions known, and putting his own feelings and agenda above the team, which is what this entire event and tradition is about, plain and simple.