Bruins' Tim Thomas refuses to meet with Obama
Boston Bruins goalie Tim Thomas makes a save against the Vancouver Canucks during the first period of game 6 of the Stanley Cup hockey final at the TD Garden in Boston, Monday, June 13, 2011. (Jonathan Hayward / THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Published Monday, January 23, 2012 9:46PM EST
The Boston Bruins' Stanley Cup hero, Tim Thomas, refused to meet with U.S. President Barack Obama during the team's meet-and-greet with the Commander-in-Chief Monday, saying the U.S. government is "out of control."
Thomas, who won the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP during the Bruins' 2011 Stanley Cup victory, issued a statement Monday night after skipping out on the White House event. He is one of two Americans on Boston's roster.
"I believe the Federal government has grown out of control, threatening the Rights, Liberties, and Property of the People," Thomas said in a written 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 said it would be the only public statement he would be making on the matter.
The Bruins goaltender was the key piece in their victory over the Vancouver Canucks, posting two shutouts in the seven-game series. He was just the second American to win the Conn Smythe.
Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli told Sports Illustrated that Thomas told him months ago he would not be attending because of ideological differences with the Obama administration.
Chiarelli said Thomas' position does not reflect that of the Bruins' organization, but he would not hold the goaltender's absence against him.
Thomas' political beliefs are not widely-known, but he has described himself as a fan of former Fox News Channel host Glenn Beck.
During the event Monday, Obama joked that Boston has had too much success with its recent winning streak across all four of North America's major sports leagues.
"The Bruins, the Sox, the Celtics, now the Patriots. Enough already, Boston," Obama quipped.
Thomas is not the first professional athlete to refuse to meet the president. Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Harrison refused to meet with former president George W. Bush in 2006 and Obama in 2009 after his team's Super Bowl victories.