There is a great moment in the seminal mini-series ‘Band of brothers’ where Captain Sobel attempts to march past Captain Winters without acknowledgement due to his personal distaste for the latter. Winters stops him and says, with authority;
‘Captain Sobel, we salute the rank, not the man’.
Apparently Tim Thomas has never seen ‘Band of brothers’.
The Boston Bruins were bestowed the great honour yesterday of meeting the President of the United States at the White House yesterday, to celebrate their fine Stanley Cup victory last season. Tim Thomas, Bruins goalie extraordinaire, chose not to attend due to his political beliefs. Every single other Bruin attended, no matter what their beliefs.
This was a day to celebrate with his team mates. This was a day to enjoy the camaraderie that anyone who has had the luck of being on a team for any protracted length feels.
Instead Tim Thomas made a woeful decision and selfishly turned it into a day about him. Those same team mates had their day in the sun hijacked by someone ignorantly putting themselves first ahead of their band of brothers. That’s the worst thing you can do in team sports, put yourself ahead of your team mates. Not only did Thomas choose not to celebrate this fine achievement with his brothers, he stole the moment from them with his poorly thought out, selfish and ill conceived decision. He has insulted his team mates and he has insulted hockey. He has come out and said, 'My archaic, angry and divisive beliefs are bigger than my team mates and the game of hockey'.
Thomas made an enormous mistake in not attending, and he did so on a fundamentally simple principle. Respect is respect, respect shouldn’t be a variable in any situation. No matter who is sitting in the Oval Office, one should respect them. Choosing not to attend shows a simple lack of respect by Thomas. Lack of respect for the station of the President of the United States, lack of respect for his team mates, lack of respect for the game of hockey and lack of respect for the United States.
It should be noted that Thomas was a silver medal winner with the United States hockey team. If he wants to make a statement, well then give the medal back. If you disrespect the President of the United States, you are disrespecting the country as a whole, no matter what turgid, redundant political ‘spin’ you try to put on it.
There will be plenty of clowns who ignorantly blather ‘But hasn’t he got the freedom to do that, freedom of speech and so forth’ yes of course he does, but do so in a respectful and dignified manner.
Make no mistake, Thomas’s action is a despicable course.
One would assume Thomas is a big part of the ‘respect the troops’ ideology that is currently sweeping the States. If that’s the case, Tim Thomas has directly spat in the eye of all the armed forces of the United States. The President is the overall commander of those same troops, and Thomas has gravely disrespected the Office of the President.
To use the dangerous, vitriolic rhetoric of the right wing goons Thomas has now forever associated himself with, apparently Tim Thomas hates the soldiers of the United States. Those same ‘freedom fighters’ he would so quickly have you believe he worships. Well, it turns out he hates them. Hate the commander, hate the troops.
Tim Thomas has tried to pull a Captain Sobel. He has tried to march past The President of the United States without saluting. It is every single United States citizens duty to their country to take him to task on that. No matter what your particulat political beliefs, salute the rank, not the man.
Massachusetts is the home, the birth place, the origin of so much that is good in the United States 'set up'. Brilliant men and minds originated from there. Sadly today it is the home to a selfish, disrespectful, backward thinking goalkeeper who cares more about his stagnant political beliefs than camaraderie, honour, team and respect.
And we're not talking about Tuukka Rask.