Skip to primary navigation Skip to main content

An Athlete Taking an Actual Stand?

First of all, I don't agree with Tim Thomas's political position. The Bruins' goaltender comes across like some Tea Party zealot when he claims that the "Federal government has grown out of control." It's easy and simplistic to blame government for all our woes nowadays. The national discussion should rise above that sort of rhetoric, which has turned the Republican primary race into an embarrassment.

But I applaud Thomas for having the guts to boycott the White House ceremony to honor the Bruins for last year's Stanley Cup victory. It's rare and refreshing nowadays for an athlete to take any kind of political stand. Either they're worried about alienating their precious sponsors, or too disengaged from politics to form any sort of opinion that might offend or enlighten anyone. College athletes, who might be expected to have an occasional contrary thought, are equally disappointing.

There was a time when famous athletes felt compelled to take a stand. Muhammad Ali refused induction into the military during the Vietnam war. He was found guilty of draft evasion and stripped of his heavyweight boxing title. Basketball great Bill Russell -- like Thomas a Boston player -- supported the Civil Rights movement and participated with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in the 1963 March on Washington.

I'm a Barack Obama supporter. But I also support Thomas, one of two Americans on the Bruins, in his decision to use his fame to voice his objections to his country's government. Thomas said his protest wasn't directed at a particular party. His critics have called it a selfish move. One writer said it undermined the team chemistry that helped Boston to its Cup run last season. That's ridiculous. It's not selfish to step out of the crowd and make an unpopular stand. It's courageous.

Thomas' teammates should respect him even more for taking a strong, independent stand. In fact, I'd like to think President Obama admired him for it, too.

comments powered by Disqus