National Post’s Joe O’Connor applauds Tim Thomas’s decision to decline an invitation to the White House:
Pros are mercenaries. They are out to win — and to make a buck — and by actually making a statement on the paralytic state of affairs in American government Thomas should be applauded, or at least, accorded a measure of respect for actually listening to his conscience and exercising his right as an American citizen by saying no to something he didn’t want to do instead of being a good hockey-sheep and saying “baa” when the White House beckoned.
And why didn’t the 2011 Conn Smythe trophy winner as playoff MVP want to tour the White House with his teammates and mug for a few photos with President Obama? Thomas posted a message on his Facebook page articulating his belief that “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.”
Bonus classy move: TSN personality Dave Hodge insinuates that Thomas is a klansmen.
So what are your thoughts on Thomas’s decision? The same as O’Connor’s?
This is where I become a bit… I don’t know the term for it. The President is the President. Whether you like him or not, if you are asked to the White House (assuming it’s not a political function or a significant imposition), you go and you shake his hand. If he gives you an award, you say “Thank you, Mr. President.”
I can imagine a hypothetical president so bad that I could not even shake his hand, but there is certainly no president within my lifetime that meets that threshold. Not even Nixon would.
This view is unpopular with many of my peers.
It was classy of Obama to keep Thomas in his speech anyway, despite the snub.
The issue is a bit of a trickster, no? Principles and all that. But I agree with you. The invitation is to the White House to meet The President. It’s a ritual that is supposed foster some sort of national unity, not promote political views.
Personally, I think Thomas doesn’t have much ground to stand on here. He let his team down, and politicized an a-political event for self-serving reasons.
Eh, I don’t agree. If a popular figure had refused to meet with Bush over objections to aggressive war and torture, I’d be impressed with them. In this case, my ambivalence is because his statement doesn’t make it overly clear what specific aspects of Obama’s policies he’s objecting to.
Also, as a BCer and Vancouver fan, I’m contractually obliged to dislike him and assume the worst about all his actions. 😉
I’m not in total disagreement to Mr. O’Connor’s thoughts, though I don’t have any real objection to them.
If I were in Thomas’s place – even if I really objected to the president – I would go. I would see it as being polite to the office, rather than the man. But I can still respect his stance. If I were Thomas’s teammate, I think I would be ok with his decision even if I disagreed with it.
Maybe that’s not a great answer. I just don’t have a really strong opinion on the matter.
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