Tim Thomas, the White House, the President and Patriotism

Dan LevyNational Lead WriterJanuary 23, 2012

WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 23:  U.S. President Barack Obama (3rd L) poses for photos with members of the Boston Bruins (first row, L-R) head coach Claude Julien, team owner Jeremy Jacobs, Jacobs' son Charlie, team president of Cam Neely and assistant general manager Jim Benning after he was presented with a jersey by during a East Room event at the White House January 23, 2012 in Washington, DC. The six-time Stanley Cup champions were honored by the President for winning the 2011 Stanley Cup last June.  (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Alex Wong/Getty Images

The Boston Bruins were honored at the White House on Monday, a long-standing tradition bestowed upon college and professional teams that win a sports championship. It's an enormous honor, and one of the unique opportunities our greatest athletes have that the rest of us common folk never get the chance to experience.

Tim Thomas, the goaltender for the reigning Stanley Cup champion Boston Bruins, decided it was his "right as a free citizen" to skip his organization's visit to the White House. On his Facebook page, Thomas explained his reasoning (in full):

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

Many people have applauded Thomas for taking a stand and speaking out for what he believes in. I am not one of those people.

NEWARK, NJ - JANUARY 04:  Goalie Tim Thomas #30 of the Boston Bruins looks down during an NHL hockey game against the New Jersey Devils at Prudential Center on January 4, 2012 in Newark, New Jersey.  (Photo by Paul Bereswill/Getty Images)
Paul Bereswill/Getty Images

Tim Thomas is a coward. It's one thing to disrespect the office of the president of the United States—I'll get to that in a second—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.

Thomas may very well believe that all of government is failing—a lot of people feel that way right now—but he's kidding himself (and anyone who reads his statement) if he believes for one second that he wouldn't have attended if the president rode in on an elephant and not a donkey.

We throw the word "patriotism" around too much these days. Standing up for what you believe in is a fundamental right, but it doesn't make you more patriotic than the next person; it just makes you more self-righteous. To applaud that, in this context, is demoralizing.

Thomas is not a patriot today. In fact, having such a public lack of respect for the office of the president of the United States—no matter who is commander-in-chief at this time—is one of the least patriotic things a person can do. It's borderline treasonous.

If the president asks you to come to his house so he can congratulate you or your team, you show up. It's that simple.

If you want to protest in some way, wear a tie with Thomas Jefferson's face all over it. Put your comments on your Facebook page before you visit the White House and express your opinions as loudly as you want. Take the opportunity while on the White House grounds to share your beliefs with those in attendance, be it the president, a member of his staff or even the media in attendance.

Don't just blow it off and try to justify your lack of respect by claiming you are mad at the entire government. That's ludicrous.

Forget about which side of the aisle you sit. Can you believe we've devolved so much as a country that we think it's okay to disrespect the office of the president—again, I'm talking about the office and not the man or woman who fills it—because you happen to disagree with that person's politics?

It certainly was Thomas' right to turn down the president's invitation. That doesn't make what he did right.