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Bruins' Tim Thomas must put politics aside, focus attention toward team rather than self

By Tim Lima
On February 13, 2012

 

The Tim Thomas of late is plaguing the Boston Bruins, a team which has become known for its ability to both win and lose together. Much of the success the Bruins had last year was because of their ability to remain whole as a unit, standing up for each other when it mattered most.

This was something the Bruins had trouble with years before, a prime example being the lack of retaliation on Matt Cooke after he tarnished both his reputation and the NHL's with his cheap shot on Marc Savard. However, the Bruins that won the Cup last year were a different bunch – who would go to war to defend anyone who wore the black and gold, at any cost.

But lately, Tim Thomas has displayed the very same personality trait which is known to end seasons and tarnish an organization: selfishness. In an effort to make his opinion known about the Obama administration, Thomas refused to make the traditional trip to the White House, which always hosts the championship winning team from the year before.

This was an opportunity for not only Thomas, but the Bruins organization as a whole to come together, likely for the last time, to celebrate a championship season and great teamwork. Even though it was a day meant to commemorate the Boston Bruins organization, Thomas took the opportunity to selfishly refuse – claiming that he didn't make the trip because he disapproved of the current administration and the way it is leading the country.

Often in professional sports, the fan doesn't know how much winning means to each individual player. Sure, we hear them talk about how it was their lifelong dream to win a championship and how winning means everything, but we never truly know. Far too many players nowadays are more concerned with earning a paycheck, making friends, and accomplishing a personal agenda.

We now know that Thomas, after putting forth one of the best goaltending performances the National Hockey League has ever seen, is using his success to change public perception of politics, when all we ask of him is to keep a puck out of a net.

Thomas has come under fire lately with the media, who questioned him about recent comments he made on his public Facebook page. These comments included a quote which, simply put, compared the current state of America to that of Hitler's Nazi Germany. When questioned, Thomas became frustrated, claiming that his comments were simply his opinion and thus an aspect of his personal life he wouldn't comment on.

Wrong, Timmy. You declined an invitation to the White House that, simply, wasn't addressed to you, but rather to the organization that pays your bills, in an effort to celebrate a team you are only a piece of. Taking pictures and shaking the hand of the President does not signify that you are in favor of his work or his administration, but rather that you are appreciative that the world's most powerful man took time out of his day to congratulate a hockey team. Being one of only two players on the Bruins who is an American citizen, you show up. Period.

Second, if you are going to hold a public, unblocked Facebook page and post comments comparing the current state of America to that of Nazi Germany, you answer questions when asked about it. You are a public figure, now more than ever, and your comments are worthy of scrutiny. Thomas simply hoped to use his newfound success and popularity in the NHL to bring his strong opinions to light publicly for the first time, but then refused to answer to the public. Either have your cake or eat it, but you can't have both.

This is America, and Freedom of Speech is the very right I am taking advantage of while writing my opinion in a newspaper column. Thomas, too, has this right. However, when your job, which pays you millions of dollars, is to be part of a team and to stop pucks, you do it. You swallow your pride and you keep "I" out of "team". We can hear your opinions in the offseason, where they won't become a distraction to a miraculous championship run or a team trying to once again hoist the Stanley Cup.


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