Boston Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas shocked the sports world last week when he opted not to meet President Barack Obama at a big White House team function. He cited personal freedom and basic political disagreements with the POTUS as his primary justifications for skipping the event. Predictably, the decision spawned an assortment of debates from every which side of the spectrum where everything from free speech, to manners, to work responsibility, to personal character to about a million other things got put on trial.
In the end, there was no clear consensus on whether Thomas was in the right or wrong for his decision to “boycott” the White House.
All that being said, despite the initial storm, it was sort of assumed that everything would eventually blow over if you gave it enough time. The Bruins, figuring this to be the case, didn’t even bother addressing the matter past an initial statement noting that Thomas had the freedom to do as he pleased.
Well, a week later, things still haven’t blown over. In fact, they’ve sort of gotten worse.
On Monday, Jack Todd of the Montreal Gazette published a scathing piece regarding Thomas’ decision. He said that Thomas did what he did “because Obama was black.” He used terms like “whacko” and “chowderhead.” And, most puzzlingly, he offered some sort of confused example noting that Thomas (“because he buys the garbage pumped out by Glenn Beck”) would never do this sort of thing to Bill Clinton – which somehow confirms that his motivations for doing what he did last week were racist.
Here is the original column he published, via the good folks at Yahoo! Sports:
As you would expect, after a slightly negative response to Todd’s column, the powers that be behind the Montreal Gazette revisited what their guy wrote. Here is what the piece looked like shortly after that happened (again, via Yahoo! Sports):
You might notice the racism bit has been swapped up for a slightly more tolerable position.
Look, I made my opinion on this issue clear when it first happened. I see no reason why Thomas needs to attend the White House for a celebratory party when he disagrees with the host’s principles. Would it have been good manners for the Bruins’ goalie to grit his teeth and go regardless? Sure. But why should he be forced?
Thomas didn’t hurt anyone by taking the position that he ultimately took. He didn’t demean the POTUS or insult him as a man. He simply let off some steam regarding disagreements as far political ideology goes and called it a day. Is it really that big of a deal?
What do you think? Were their racist motivations behind Thomas’ decision not to attend President Obama’s little shindig for the Bruins?