If Hockey Star Snubbed Bush, They Would’ve Earned ‘Unwavering Support in the Media for Taking Such a Courageous Stance’

Politically conservative Boston Bruins goalie Tim Thomas is being vilified for not joining his hockey teammates Monday afternoon at the White House for a ceremony honoring the team’s 2011 Stanley Cup championship, but Hockey News senior writer Ken Campbell suggested that if a few years ago some stars “had snubbed the White House in 2004 to protest the Bush-led U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003, my guess is they...would have had all kinds of unwavering support in the media for taking such a courageous stance.”

It was “just rude not to go,” NBC’s Nancy Snyderman declared on Tuesday’s Today show where former CNBC host Donny Deutsch complained Thomas had “cheapened” the honor. The Boston Herald headline, “Tim Thomas told: ‘Stick to hockey’; Slammed for Obama snub.” A Boston Globe headline asserted: “Tim Thomas wrong to skip White House trip.” The Globe’s hockey writer denounced Thomas as “Shabby. Immature. Unprofessional. Self-centered.”

In his post on TheHockeyNews.com, “Admiring Thomas’ stance,” Campbell noted of not attending an event: “This is not Michael Moore saying ‘Shame on you, George Bush,’ at the Academy Awards or the Dixie Chicks calling Bush a moron....This was a very thoughtful, articulate and pensive athlete respectfully declining an invitation.”

He continued:

Now if Martin Brodeur or Scott Stevens had snubbed the White House in 2004 to protest the Bush-led U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003, my guess is they both would have had all kinds of unwavering support in the media for taking such a courageous stance. To vilify Thomas for taking a similar stance just because he leans far to the right would be unfair.

The Washington Post relayed the explanation Thomas put on 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”

Thomas, a native of Flint Michigan, is either the only American, or one of just two U.S.-born players, on the Stanley Cup-winning team. I’ve seen it reported both ways and haven’t had time to track it down. Even though many players from Massachusetts play on other NHL teams, the rest of the Bruins team is from Canada, Eastern Europe and Scandinavia.

Brent Baker
Brent Baker
Brent Baker is the Steven P.J. Wood Senior Fellow and VP for Research and Publications at the Media Research Center