Tim Thomas is getting downright confusing.
Two weeks ago he chose not to accept an invitation to the White House with his Bruins teammates as an honor after the won the Stanley Cup. He then posted a bizarre explanation of his reasoning on his personal Facebook page:
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.
Moving beyond Thomas' esoteric capitalization and punctuation style, this reads as a pretty boilerplate Tea Party statement. Thomas may or may not identify with that movement, but he has some of their symbols on his helmet, including the Gadsden Flag.
He has also stated that he would love to be a guest on Tea Party demagogue Glenn Beck's television program, back when Beck was on Fox News, so it is safe to assume he at least agrees with some of their philosophy.
For his next trick, Thomas posted this gem on Wednesday afternoon:
I Stand with the Catholics in the fight for Religious Freedom.
In Germany they came first for the Communists, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Communist. Then they came for the Jews, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a trade unionist. Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn't speak up because I was a Protestant. Then they came for me, and by that time no one was left to speak up. -- by Martin Niemöller, prominent German anti-Nazi theologian and Lutheran pastor, best known as the author of the poem First they came....
Comparing the Obama Administration to Hitler, which Thomas has done here - intentionally or not - is another popular Tea Party tactic that is about as rational as it is inoffensive. To suggest that mandating that a group provide for healthcare for their employees is akin to deporting citizens to concentration camps is patently insane.
The move by the administration is potentially unconstitutional and will undoubtedly be subject to numerous debates inside the government and out, but to compare it to the murder of roughly 12 million people is something that all intelligent and free thinking people should abhor and condemn Thomas for saying.
When Thomas met the media after morning skate today, he answered a few questions about their game last night and if he himself had political aspirations, then he warned reporters that he would not be speaking about Facebook.
Naturally, that led to a question about his Facebook posts.
According to Comcast Sports Net's Joe Haggerty, Thomas' responded, I'm out . . . peace.
He followed it up with, I'm going to use my right to remain silent. You have right to ask the questions and I have the right to not answer those questions. This is my job. Facebook is my personal life. If you guys don't understand the difference between individual and job there's a problem.
Thomas gave up his right to be silent when he posted his comments in an online forum. His Facebook page has 10,630 likes, and unless he knows each of them personally, it isn't personal. In fact nothing on Facebook is, ask any recent college graduate who hasn't gotten a job after prospective employers did a little goggling and found pictures of their applicants chugging from beer bongs.
Clearly Thomas wants to have his cake and eat it too, but in this country his freedom to say those things and our freedom to ask those questions come from the exact same article in the Bill of Rights, they are inextricably linked.
He is certainly entitled to privacy as well, but that request becomes hypocritical when the original statement was posted in one of the most public forums in the world. Maybe Thomas just doesn't understand that Facebook is essentially a billboard visible to everyone in the world at once.
Bruins management was less than happy with him after the White House snub and rumors that he would be traded swirled for a few days before general manager Peter Chiarelli emphatically put an end to them.
Today, head coach Claude Julien said, I don't think I've heard anybody support his opinions, but I've heard everybody say that we support him as a player.
So far the Bruins have all backed him, in public, but these types of things can build and escalate. If Thomas refuses to answer questions, his coaches and teammates will be asked about the situation. It will become a distraction to a team trying to repeat as Stanley Cup champions.
While the idea of Thomas being moved before the trade deadline in two and a half weeks seems pretty far-fetched this type of behavior could definitely hasten his departure out of town. Not because the team really cares about his politics, but because by doing this he makes himself bigger than the team.
That's a dangerous place for any player to be and it has spelled the end of careers for much longer than Tim Thomas has been playing the game. He hasn't reached that level yet, but it's worth keeping an eye on.