Boston media reaction to Tim Thomas's Barack Obama snub (and was a TSN tweet racist?)
The decision byBoston Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas to skip the presidential White House invitation has knickers in a knot all over the place, perhaps not least because, other than Steven Kampfer, he was the only American citizen on the Bruins’ cup-winning roster last season.
It’s hard to tell exactly how much the negative reaction has been influenced by Thomas’s public acknowledgement of his admiration for the barking-mad Glenn (too “eccentric” for Fox News) Beck, but even Boston-area media outlets are mostly disapproving in their opinions about the reigning Stanley Cup MVP. (And a tweet from TSN’s Dave Hodge has people bandying about the R word.)
Margery Eagean writes for BostonHerald.com and labelled Thomas “embarrassing”, “classless”, and “a spoiled brat” in that paper’s news-and-opinion page. About Thomas’s political philosophy as a reason for the Barack Obama snub she wrote: “I’m just not sure how any of that translates into not showing up for a five-minute White House photo-op—unless Thomas thinks shaking Obama’s hand would somehow taint him, contaminate him, mark him as consorting with the enemy. Unless Thomas thinks Obama’s policies make him an evil, contemptible person.”
Gethin Coolbaugh, regional editor of SB Nation Boston, writing in the Hub sports blog: “For taking a stand for the greater good, Thomas should be praised, not scorned….His actions were done in the interest of the American people….Kudos, Timmy. Thanks for standing up for what you believe in.”
Patrick Brennan, recent Harvard grad and William F. Buckley Fellow at the National Review Online, writing in The Corner blog: “Thomas’s choice wasn’t unpatriotic, but it was, in some sense, immature and self-centered.…Thomas took a patriotic and effectively apolitical celebration focused on a sports team and made it into a noteworthy and intensely political event focused on his opinions”.
Two other BostonHerald.com writers, Dave Wedge and Stephen Harris, this time in the sports section, said Thomas “brazenly snubbed” Obama, and they supplied reaction from some prominent Democrats, including this quote from Massachusetts Democratic Party spokesperson Kevin Franck: “I think anyone who really cares about the lives, liberty and happiness of the American people wouldn’t miss an opportunity to shake the hand of the man who got bin Laden.”
The Boston Globe’s Kevin Paul Dupont was unstinting in his condemnation of Thomas, calling him: “Shabby. Immature. Unprofessional. Self-centered. Bush league.” He went on: “It was the same government yesterday, and will be today, that protected his country, his security, his family, and his right to make $5 million a year, all last season.”
And speaking of Thomas’s place on the U.S. men’s hockey team that won silver at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, he wrote: “Someone so disgusted with our government ought to turn in the sweater and the medal. It must be a horrible burden, if not a pox, to have them in his house.”
ESPNBoston.com’s Joe McDonald weighed in with this: “It was odd that Thomas chose this stage to make a statement by not attending the White House visit with the rest of his teammates, especially given the fact that he is one of only two Americans on the Cup-winning team.…There’s no way any player on this team will publicly disagree with Thomas’s decision, but this one could come back to kick him between his goalie pads.…Thomas’s absence was uncalled-for.”
The Bleacher Report’s Dan Levy called Thomas “a coward. It’s one thing to disrespect the office of the president of the United States…but to justify that decision by blaming all of government and not having the guts to admit you aren’t going because you fundamentally disagree with the politics of this particular administration is downright deceitful.” He went on to label his “public lack of respect” as “borderline treasonous”.
Filmmaker Michael Moore, who attended the same school in Davison, Michigan, as did Thomas, tweeted: “Tim Thomas & I went to the same high school. I can tell u this: People in Flint [Michigan] LOVE Obama, desperately need Obama, & DETEST Thomas’ actions.”
And, finally, we leave you with a tweet from TSN’s Dave Hodge, one that was published online on thepensblog.com under the headline “TSN reporter insinuates Tim Thomas is a racist”: “Don’t know if it’s fair to point this out, but Tim Thomas has three children named Kiley, Kelsey and Keegan.” (emphasis added)
No, Dave, not fair.