No Thank You, Obama: The Unapologetic Hypocrisy of Tim Thomas

Derek ScarlinoCorrespondent IJanuary 24, 2012

PITTSBURGH, PA - DECEMBER 5:  Goaltender Tim Thomas #30 of the Boston Bruins stretches before a game against the Pittsburgh Penguins on December 5, 2011 at CONSOL Energy Center in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

Okay. We get it. You didn't vote for Barack Obama.

Big deal. Go shake the man's hand when he invites your team to the White House to congratulate you, and your mates, for a job well done in the Stanley Cup Finals.

Tim Thomas' absence at the White House was the height of classlessness in sports.

It shouldn't matter how much Fox News you ingest, Timmy. It also shouldn't matter how badly you want to be a guest on Glenn Beck's show. You go shake the president's hand.

Zdeno Chara did. He wasn't even born in the U.S. Awkward.

There are times when politics and sports shouldn't mix, Tim. You're not Tommie Smith. You're not John Carlos. You aren't making a statement.

You're not Jaromir Jagr, sporting the No. 68 because your grandfather died in the Prague Spring (of 1968).

No. You're a pestilent, little Tea Partier who thinks his cause is much bigger than it is.

If you want to emblazon "IN GOD WE TRUST" on your helmet, fine. If you want to add a trite, little tea bag as well, whatever. But don't act like you're standing up to a great social injustice, worthy of such action.

In fact, from your political affiliations, Timmy, you probably don't care all that much about social justice.

The thing is, the president is the most visible representative of the American people. He's congratulating you on behalf of the American people. He's not trying to get you to vote for him in November. Shaking his hand doesn't mean that you support such dastardly things like extending health care to poorer individuals than yourself, pulling the troops out of Iraq or killing Osama bin Laden.

You're American-born. Yet, you fail to recognize one of the better things about this country you claim to love so much: We can stand shoulder to shoulder, and shake hands, with people who think differently than we do.

We can even talk to them! What a novel idea, eh? I think I'll call this brand new concept, "democracy."

Stop acting like a spoiled brat, Tim. You're not the first to do this, but precedent doesn't always make something right.

Michael Jordan snubbed George H.W. Bush in 1991. I was eight years old, so forgive that I didn't have the social conscience to comment at the time. Plus, I'm not big into basketball unless we're talking about SU (Go, Orange!).

Members of the 1993 Ryder Cup team threatened to snub Clinton, but they put their big boy pants on and took one for America. Or something.

Some of the White Sox declined their invites to see George W. Bush in 2006, but upon closer inspection, they were either being honored in their native countries, on their honeymoons or practicing with their national teams. Oh, and Ozzie Guillen already met the president in 2003 with the Marlins.

However, the Right wing tide that is enveloping the United States apparently refuses to negotiate with people whose middle name even sounds like an Islamic terrorist's. Conservative golfers and NASCAR drivers are also snubbing the president. That's class.


I've little patience for these crybaby antics. And I love politics. In fact, most of the writing I do that isn't on Bleacher Report is about politics. 

There's a way to politicize sports, and there's a way not to politicize sports. Sometimes the sport politicizes itself (I'm looking at you, 1980 Winter Olympics).

Protesting something that has real value to it is one thing. It's another to protest the policies of a man who is largely repeating the policies of the guy before. A guy you supported. And, in U.S. politics, the guy after Obama will likely continue the trend that stretches back before him (yes, there was a time before Barack Obama where bad things also happened). However, in doing so, if he belongs to your preferred political party, all will be right in the universe.

How do I know this? Because we Americans do this every four to eight years, and get similar results. It's happening right now with the United States Congress. Whether it's this coming November, or four years from now, when another Republican takes office, all of the policies you take issue with will still be there, but your concerns will fade into sweet, sweet cognitive dissonance.

But enough of that. You shake the president's hand. There's no reason why we should be beyond the ability to come together for something completely apolitical: honoring the Stanley Cup champions.

If you felt so strongly enticed by the words of an entertainer like Glenn Beck, then perhaps you should have refused to represent the United States in Vancouver for the 2010 Olympics. Believe me, in retrospect, I would have liked that much better now.


Good thing we lost, though. Because had we gotten our hands on that gold, Obama would have morphed into the anti-Christ on the spot and put everyone who didn't want to convert to Islam into FEMA camps! Right?

Nope. Probably not. He would have gotten a case of Labatt Blue (or Molson, I forget) from Stephen Harper, quipped that we beat those rascally Canadians at their own game (I could only hope), have a laugh and continue on with running the country in whichever direction people are entitled to think he's running it.

Tim Thomas, you spit in the face of your country by snubbing the president. I say this despite not voting for the man, myself. I have differences with your political views, but, well, our country was sort of founded on the concept of talking these things over, and voting on what's best for all. Bumps along the way, to be expected, but we're not exactly hanging over a precipice. 

We're not on the brink of revolution. We haven't invaded Ireland or England or Scotland or whatever Anglophone country your family comes from. It's not 1860. You're being a baby. Stop exaggerating.

What's even more hypocritical is the sanctimonious nature with which actions like these are taken. Just remember, that 6'9" defenseman who makes your job a lot easier, is an immigrant. And your particular brand of politics certainly has no love lost on those people.

When Zdeno Chara bears down on the unlucky forward of some opposing team who dared crash your net, I doubt you care, in this instance, if the big guy is speaking English when he politely asks them not to do it again (with a skull-sized fist to their skull-sized skull).

You're a great athlete. A terrific ambassador for, and testament to, ice hockey in the United States. Don't muck it up with tactless actions like this.

Your actions serve to reinforce a shameful streak in American political discourse -- the refusal of Americans to talk about their differences without acting, yes acting, so appalled, that they just possibly couldn't look the other person in the eye.

Shame on you, Tim Thomas. Today, you embarrassed your country.


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