Bruins Goalie Snubs President; Skips White House Visit - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Bruins Goalie Snubs President; Skips White House Visit

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Boston Bruins goalie Tim Thomas is used to making a statement with his play on the ice. On Monday he made one in the political arena. Citing his overall displeasure with the role of government today, Thomas skipped a White House ceremony with President Obama intended to salute the Stanley Cup champion Bruins.

"I believe the Federal government has grown out of control, threatening the Rights, Liberties, and Property of the People," Thomas said in a statement. "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."

Thomas is one of just two Americans on the Bruins' Cup-winning roster. Stephen Kampfer, the other American, did show up for the public pat on the back.

"He chose not to come," Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli told Yahoo! Sports, adding that he had tried to talk Thomas out of his decision over the last couple of months only to be stoned by the Conn Smythe winner.

"I can require someone to attend a team event. If they don't, I can suspend him," Chiarelli said. "I'm not suspending Tim. Whatever his position is, it isn't reflective of the Boston Bruins nor my own."

Even though Obama's shout-out to Thomas fell on deaf ears — he highligted the fact that Thomas is just the second American player to be named the MVP of the Stanley Cup playoffs — the prez didn't let the goalie's absence dampen his mood as he cracked jokes about the Bruins' drinking and beard-growing.

Athletes skipping events at the White House is rare, but not entirely uncommon. Dan Hampton, a Hall of Fame defensive lineman for the Chicago Bears, didn't stop by 1600 Pensylvania Avenue in October when the 1985 Bears were honored (the meeting with the President was scratched due to the space shuttle Challenger tragedy in 1986 and was never made up). Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Harrison, a backup player at the time, skipped his team's post-Super Bowl visit in 2006 when George W. Bush was in office. He also took a pass on meeting with Obama in 2009 after the Steelers won Super Bowl XLIII.

Thomas has made political statements in the past, and has sported the Gadsden flag — which has been adopted as a sympol of the Tea Party movement— on the back of his mask at times.

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