Boston Bruins Goalie Skips White-House Visit to Make Political Statement

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Larry Downing / Rueters

U.S. President Barack Obama poses with a team jersey as he welcomes the 2011 NHL Stanley Cup champions Boston Bruins to the East Room of the White House.

You can look at Boston Bruins goalie Tim Thomas’ decision to snub a White House visit one of two ways: a profound American statement of freedom of speech, or a show of selfishness for making a team event about himself.

No matter your view (and don’t worry, there are thousands who fall into either side of the camp), when the Stanley Cup-winning goalie of the Bruins—and one of only two Americans even on the team during last year’s championship run—was the only player not to show for the customary congratulatory White House event with President Barack Obama, he got people talking. And he didn’t explain himself right away, either, instead waiting until later in the evening to use his Facebook page to explain the decision:

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

(MORE: Bruins Goalie Tim Thomas Reflects)

NHL goalies can decorate their masks in individualistic ways and Thomas hasn’t been shy about politics, putting the Tea Party slogan “Don’t Tread on Me” on his mask.

Many Facebook fans and sports pundits have called his act a strong stand for what he believed in, while others criticized his “me-first” attitude. Others questioned if he could have been more effective in getting across his views on the government had he actually shown up at the White House, spoken with Obama and expressed his point of view.

President Obama, it seems, took it all in stride, even saying the cup was won by defense as much as offense and “Tim Thomas posted two shutouts in the Stanley Cup Finals and set an all-time record for saves in the postseason, and he also earned the honor being only the second American ever to be recognized as the Stanley Cup playoffs MVP.”

There was no official statement from the White House, but Thomas himself became a key topic during the event, forcing his teammates to field endless questions as to why he wasn’t there and taking the focus away from the win and onto the absence. At least he made his point.

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