February 10th, 2012 by

When Facebook, political, and hockey worlds collide

Tim Thomas, Boston Bruins, NHL, Boston Bruins Blogs, The Bruins Blog, Boston Bruins News, Boston Bruins

(Photo: Bridget Samuels) Tim Thomas has been the center of attention by posting his political ideologies on Facebook

Tim Thomas is not doing himself any favors when it comes to addressing his political issues on Facebook.

Just days after his infamous snub of President Barack Obama when he honored the 2010-11 Stanley Cup Champion Boston Bruins, Thomas stuck to his guns during the All-Star Game in Ottawa and after that he received a standing ovation from the TD Garden crowd in the team’s 6-3 win over the Senators.

Case closed, right? Well fast forward a week later where Thomas posted another status updated in his support for Catholics during a controversial mandate on birth control supported by the Obama Administration.

Below is an excerpt from Thomas’ Facebook page from Wednesday:

“I stand with the Catholics in their fight for Religious Freedom.”

“In Germany they came first for the Communists, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Communist. Then they came for the Jews, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist. Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn’t speak up because I was a Protestant. Then they came for me, and by that time no one was left to speak up. — by Martin Niemoler, prominent German anti-Nazi theologian and Lutheran pastor, best known for the poem First they came…”

This particular post came hours before the Bruins’ 6-0 loss to the Buffalo Sabres. Afterwards, Thomas would not address the issues with reporters.

“That’s my personal life,” he said. “I won’t be talking about that. It has absolutely nothing to do with the game of hockey.”

Moments later, Thomas was asked if he was worried about the attention from that post.

“That’s my personal life,” said the two-time Vezina Trophy winner. “I won’t be commenting on that. It has nothing to do with hockey or my job as a Boston Bruin.”

Just like he stuck to his guns when asked about his decision to not attend the White House during the All-Star Game, Thomas, again, stuck to those guns at Thursday’s practice in Wilmington.

“I say that’s my personal life and it has nothing to do with the Bruins or hockey, and I’m going to use my right to remain silent,” he said.

The questions that followed were met with basically the same response.

About going into politics when his career is over: “That’s my personal life that has nothing to do with the Bruins or hockey and I’m going to remain silent.”

Regarding his status update affecting the team: “That’s my personal life and it has nothing to do with the Bruins or hockey. I’m going to plead the fifth.”

On if he had anything else to share: “If I do, I’ll do that in my personal life and not in this venue.”

So, if Thomas’ status update was part of his personal life and he shared it on a public platform like Facebook, then he should be able to address those issues with a handful of reporters, right? But when asked if he knew that Facebook was a public fourm, Thomas stuck to his guns.

“It is and you have the right to ask that question,” he said. “But I have the right not to answer the question.”

So why wouldn’t he comment on his stance that he posted on Facebook?

“That’s my job. Facebook is my personal life. That’s why,” Thomas said. “If you guys don’t understand the difference between an individual and what they do as a job, or an athlete and his personal life, then I think that’s a problem.”

Does he consider himself a public athlete?

“I don’t think when you become an athlete you sign away your right to be an individual and have your own views, and be able to post them on Facebook,” Thomas said.

Thomas then interrupted another question from one of the reporters with this remark.

“All right, enough of this,” he said. “That’s my personal life and it has nothing to do with hockey or the Boston Bruins and I’m not going to address it. You guys can keep asking, we can do this every day, but the first question I get about it every day, I’m done interviewing for the day.”

Thomas then left the scene with “I’m out. Peace.” after being asked about if he regretted posting his status.

And now, Thomas has left his teammates and his coaching staff to answer some of these questions. But head coach Claude Julien doesn’t think Thomas’ antics have been a distraction.

“I don’t think I’ve heard anybody — starting with our owners, to management, to coaches and players — I don’t think I’ve heard anybody support his opinions,” said Julien. “But I’ve heard everybody support him as a hockey player.

“We’ve got good team chemistry in that dressing room and I’ve said it before, we don’t mix politics with our hockey team and that continues to happen,” Julien continued. “It’s probably something people would like to think because of how poorly we’ve played lately, but I assure you that there’s no issues in that dressing room and there never will be.

“We’ve got a really good group of players in there that don’t let those type of things bog them down and it hasn’t,” Julien added. “If it had, I’d be telling you right now, I’d feel it. There’s absolutely nothing going on. Guys are just going about their business so certainly not a distraction and will never be used as an excuse because it isn’t one.”

It could be a co-incidence that the Bruins have lost four of their last six games since Thomas’ snub in DC giving up 20 goals while scoring just 12. But then again, this is part of a 15-game stretch where the Black and Gold have gone 7-7-1.

Thomas, agree or disagree, has every right to express his First Amendment rights, and he has chosen Facebook as a platform to express his political ideology. We’ve seen other local athletes like former Red Sox ace Curt Schilling, another Republican, voice his political issues on other platforms on various social media outlets, too. But Thomas seems more and more uncomfortable addressing this to the media, unlike Schilling, who is more open to his stance as seen with his endorsements of Republican candidates like current Senator Scott Brown and 2010 Gubernatorial candidate Charlie Baker (both on and off camera).

Assuming that Thomas will not address any of his Facebook posts with the media and continue his passive-aggressive approach, the next best solution is for the Bruins to string together a bunch of wins and put this “distraction” behind them and Timmy.

Otherwise, this latest saga will continue to have more questions than answers.

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6 READERS COMMENTED

  1. February 10, 2012
    Guys, the only reason this is a big deal is because the Boston sports media is making it a big deal. TT has been making these posts on FB long and the media had no problem. When he declined the WH invite that’s when the hackles came out and the close scrutiny of his words/opinions began. Joe Haggerty has a burr up his backside over this and, IMHO, is the one leading this charge. Felger and Mazz follow his lead. I couldn’t tell you about Haggerty’s politics but I know from listening to Felger and Mazz they do not share Thomas’s viewpoint. If you think this is a big deal then tell me why. Is it a big deal because the media is making a big deal out of it and dragging it into the dressing room? Is it a big deal because TT has a view that the majority of the Boston media does not share? Is it a big deal because TT should keep his mouth shut due to the fact that he’s a big star? If that last reason is the case then why was it ok for Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett to talk about the fundraising they did for then-candidate Obama and their support for him? This whole media circus smacks of hypocrisy and it’s not proper but that’s what I would expect because the left is tolerant until they find someone who disagrees publicly with them.
  2. February 10, 2012
    I think the big issue here is not agreeing or disagreeing on his stance, but rather on how Timmy posted his political statements on Facebook. If he posted his statements on his Facebook “profile” — where friend requests need to be approved — that’s one thing and indeed it would be a more “private matter” (assuming the privacy settings are adjusted accordingly) and then the media would not have dug this up. But posting on his Facebook “page” that’s public where anyone can “like” a celebrity, athlete, or a certain product, is an entirely different scenario. The former would draw less attention, but since it was posted on the latter it draws more attention. So to claim that his political agenda is a personal situation when his statements are going out to over 14,000 of his “fans” is kind of bogus and that’s why the media is digging this up. While the media is writing their different angles, Thomas is also bringing this up himself, which is fine I’m a supporter of First Amendment rights. But then to claim this is all media driven even if its on a public forum and to not back up his statements when he’s questioned and claim its “personal” about it is another.
  3. February 10, 2012
    If he says it in the locker room it’s open for discussion there. If he says it on FB I think any comments or questions should be posted there. Problem solved. Thomas has set himself a precedent by posting these comments on FB and the media NEVER took notice or issue with his postings until he declined the WH invite – that shows media bias.
  4. February 10, 2012
    Sorry can’t defend that comment. If he’s willing to discuss it on a public platform like a Facebook “page” then he should be able to answer questions to a handful of media. If he posted it on his Facebook “profile” he would have an argument (one that I would support if there was a tad bit of media scrutiny) but not a Facebook “page”.
  5. February 11, 2012
    Well Tim, I respectfully disagree with you.
  6. Pingback: Thomas' sabbatical puts Bruins in tough spot | Bruins Daily June 4, 2012 [...] end of it, didn’t you? Well, in typical Tim Thomas fashion, the now former Boston netminder used Facebook, again, making his stance known on Sunday via his official Facebook page. And in doing so, he is [...]

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