On a day in which the Boston Bruins were going to celebrate their Stanley Cup championship of last season and be praised for their accomplishments as a team, one star player made the event about him and put his political views at the forefront of the event.
Boston Bruins star goalie Tim Thomas made himself the lead story by selfishly not attending the team's White House visit with President Barack Obama on Tuesday to honor the team's championship last season.
Thomas has now gone from Boston sports legend and hero to someone that many people in the state of Massachusetts will now think of quite differently, and not because of his ability to keep pucks out of the net.
The regularly soft-spoken, polite, non-polarizing figure has now become a controversial sports star like a previous Boston sports hero, former Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling, who supported President Bush.
Thomas explained why he did not attend the team's White House event through his Facebook page on Tuesday:
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
While Thomas explains that this is not about politics or party, he's wrong, that's exactly what it is about.
Playing in a city, and a state for that matter, which is the fifth most Democratic (according to Gallup), these comments could anger a great number of people.
Thomas took an exciting day for the Bruins and turned all the attention away from the team aspect and all about him.
If Thomas doesn't think the government is being run well, that's fine, and I'm sure many would agree with him to some extent, but those feelings did not stop him from competing in the 2010 Olympic games in Vancouver as a member of Team USA hockey.
Thomas, in his Facebook statement, said he won't make any further public comments on the topic, but I cannot imagine he will stay true to that. The more he resists to comment on his decision, the more his teammates will be asked to comment on it, which will annoy them pretty quickly. If Thomas wants to win back some of his millions of supporters, he will have to address this issue again.
I love that Thomas has strong political opinions, and I encourage everyone to have strong opinions around their political beliefs as well.
However, Tuesday's event was not about politics, it was about sports and celebrating the Bruins' remarkable Stanley Cup title, the team's first in 39 years.
Despite the fact the event took place at the White House, the day was about sports, and not about who supports what party or which political ideology you believe in. Sports is a place where people can forget about the topics and arguments that politics create.
Thomas' comments had no place in that kind of setting, where the entire theme was on the Bruins' accomplishments as a sports team. If he wanted to share his feelings on politics, there are several radio/TV shows in the Boston area and nationally that I'm sure would love to feature him as a guest, but to ruin the team's fun with his political beliefs was wrong.
Putting himself above the team was incredibly selfish of Thomas, and it was a classless move that will cause many Bruins fans to think of him differently, regardless of his past and future success between the pipes.
Follow Nicholas Goss on Twitter for NHL/Bruins news and analysis. Follow @NicholasGoss35.