Well, now that Glenn Reynolds has written about Bruins goalie (and 2011 playoff MVP) Tim Thomas refusing to join his teammates at the White House yesterday to be congratulated on their Stanley Cup victory by Barack Obama, I'm sure we'll see a lot more commentary on his bold stand in the upcoming days/hours/minutes. That's good. But it's the commentary from the left, and the sports-writing media, that I'm most interested in...
If you haven't heard the story:
Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli confirmed that Thomas had told him months ago he would not attend the White House event due to his political and ideological differences with the Obama administration. Chiarelli said he had tried to convince Thomas to attend the event "over the last couple months" to no avail.
While his politics aren't common knowledge among many hockey fans, Thomas hasn't hidden his political leanings. He's a fan of former Fox News channel host Glenn Beck, once saying he aspired to appear on Beck's talk show as a guest.
Big Government, a website founded by conservative blogger Andrew Breitbart, celebrated Thomas as a "true Tea Party patriot" for having "In God We Trust" and the Gadsden flag on his mask.
Here's why I am curious to see what comes from the sportswriters and blogs: Tim Thomas is not the only hockey player in recent months to make an open political stand. Rangers forward Sean Avery did the same thing last year, when he appeared in TV advertisements supporting gay marriage in New York State. Avery was lauded for his stand, being called "unafraid", a "true leader", and "inspiring". This, despite a well-deserved reputation as the dirtiest player in the NHL. Think Ty Cobb without the skill. Click the link if you want to see videos of Sean "in action" (including a pregame fight with, ironically, Tim Thomas. Hmmm....).
So my question is: Will Thomas - a clean living, blue-collar, working -class hero from Flint, MI. - get the same respect for standing up for his beliefs as Avery got when he stood up for gay marriage?
Sportswriters tend to be frustrated opinion columnists - dying to get the serious respect of their newsroom peers, they'll often launch into judgmental tirades whenever the opportunity presents itself. Tim Thomas' stand against a corrupt president certainly leaves him open to controversy. Will he be weighed on the courage of his beliefs, or condemned due to a differing value system than that held by the mainstream media?
Should be interesting...
UPDATE: By popular demand - here's Avery fighting with Thomas. Watch Avery hit Thomas on the back of his head with his stick, while Tim is on his knees. Time takes exception to typical liberal chicken-fighting:
UPDATE II: As expected. The Boston Globe's Kevin DuPont orders Thomas to turn in his 2012 Olympic medal and sweater, if he's so ashamed of his country. Whatever happened to dissent being the highest form of patriotism?
A reminder from The Corner:
Notably, no one at the Boston Globe complained when Red Sox owner John Henry and general manager Theo Epstein, both dyed-in-the-wool Democrats, opted out of the invites to the Bush White House after the 2007 World Series.
it is all about the double-standard. TSN's Gord Miller:
For those wondering, Tim Thomas will be in uniform in Washington tonight, as soon as he dumps the last crate of tea into Boston Harbor.
But no jokes about Sean Avery bending over in the shower, of course...
Another Boston lefty whines:
Two words: embarrassing and classless....The only thing I knew about Thomas until yesterday had to do with phenomenal hockey playing. Here’s what I suspect today: He’s a spoiled brat.
Others, with more nuanced minds, think otherwise:
One can argue Thomas could have just as easily played along with everyone else, shaken Obama’s hand and enjoyed his private tour of the executive residence. I believe he could have done so without compromising himself, but he thought differently, chose to make a statement about his principles and risked the opprobrium of the liberal press. For that he deserves our respect as a citizen and a man.
No way. He's a Republican....!