Missing The Point

It’s a tradition that started I don’t know when, but when one of the major sports in America wins a championship, the team that won it, gets to visit the white house, meet the president, and gets a free tour. A person who loves America should cherish this honor and possibly once and a lifetime experience, regardless of what you think about the current presidency. Tim Thomas of those Boston Bruins decided he didn’t give a crap about all that and put his political agenda ahead of an experience that he could share with the team that won the championship, a chance to celebrate a monumental feat of athleticism.

His press release care of Tsn.ca

“I believe the Federal government has grown out of control, threatening the Rights, Liberties, and Property of the People,” Thomas’ statement read. “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.”

Now I’ll go on record here as stating that I’m from Vancouver, I’m a fan of the Canucks, and yes we did lose to this smug, cheap, and dirty team, that being said, I don’t disagree with his statements. In fact you could say I agree 100% with him. And it does pain me to do so. And before you go thinking I’ve jumped the shark about talking about sports, I’ve done it before, and I’ll most likely do it again – at the same time, this article is about culture and our society, not about the sport. And for the sake of this article, I’m going to take Thomas for his word about why he didn’t want to go to the white house, and not assume it’s for different reasons.

I was listening to sports radio today for a bit when this story broke, there was some call in shows, I like it when something cultural happens in the sports world, and in call in talk radio because it gives you a glimpse of the world not usually represented in mass media in regards to politics and society – the average people out there who just like to talk and live about sports, the people who live it because they want to forget about their problems, or they live it because sports can teach you an amazing amount of culture, or social roles, how to behave in a social construct, and how to succeed, lose, class, etc. There’s a lot that sports does and can teach us. So it was interesting hearing this from Canadians, over 3000 miles away from Washington.

But as the dialogue went on, it became repetitive like the same sound bites being played over and over, as yet again, many many many people seem to miss the entire point behind everything they’re talking about. The quote said most often was: “He’s practicing his freedom, that’s what a free society is about, the freedom and choice to do that.” Excellent, thanks for the freedom lecture citizens. I know that our freedoms have been slowly and slyly been taken away, but I didn’t realize having been born here, and lived here for my lifetime that Canada and The US wasn’t a free society. I found it odd that the hosts and the other callers didn’t pick up on this. Who and where was anyone ever saying it wasn’t his right to not visit the white house? The hosts never said it, the team never said it, no caller said it, no other media said it… yet here were these people calling in to give their two cents on that they respect him because he is choosing to act on his right of choice. It got so sickening that I realize that call in radio was essentially what blogging is now, dealing with a whole bunch or redundant comments from the audience. (Not the people who comment here of course, you guys are golden). But how could one person not say this? How could not one of the hosts come out and say “enough is enough guys, of course he has the right to do this, no one said he didn’t, the question we’re asking is should he have?”. And of course this is what this “issue” is really about.

Should he have. When people hear that they lock the hatches down in an attempt to scream “This is a free country and I have a right to do this!” – and since when did having the right justify rude and crass behavior? When did having the right to act like a jack ass mean that you could with out anyone saying anything about it. Rights and freedom’s are great, but societies and cultures are held together by some unspoken rules of behavior, and when those are broken, or forgotten about, we see what we now find ourselves in – a culture that’s schizophrenic, and delusional, and lost. People don’t even know the basics, they don’t know which way is up. They can’t accept someone saying women’s soccer sucks because it’s played by chicks, and yet clamor to the pointless defense of someone else choosing to voice his opinions freely. Most people you find won’t even make the comparison, they won’t understand that they’re the same thing, that saying something is everyone’s right… and yet at the same time, when, why, how, and where you say things is also important. My writing about these things on this blog, is a proper way of saying these things, doing it in a board room or in front of my grandmother, isn’t the right place to say it.

It has gotten to the point where people are so confused that they attack minor perceived infractions on someone’s freedom, and yet do nothing as our actual freedom’s are chipped away slowly and secretly. Since we’ve lost the model of a civilized culture, we are doomed to fall into the trap of finding ourselves suddenly in the hands of fascism, and we as a culture won’t even see it coming.

5 thoughts on “Missing The Point

  1. I think Thomas should have just shut up and gone to the White House. To be honest, I agree in principle to everything he said in his statement but being a guy who has also played a lot of team sports I’m of the opinion you don’t just ditch your team like that when they go to celebrate winning something as significant as the Stanley Cup. Thomas also said that his issue wasn’t particularly with Obama, the Democrats or Republicans but that both parties had contributed to America’s current problems and decline. Again, I agree with what he’s saying but if his issues aren’t specifically with the President himself and realistically this meeting is just a photo op (and a traditional one at that) why put your team through the embarrassment? The Bruins GM and President both had to deal with like a million questions about this from the media and it has created a shitstorm over what should have been a photo op and something that is completely glossed over in the sports media.

    Not to mention the fact that Thomas was the only recognizable American on that team, won the Conn Smythe trophy (Playoff MVP) and was one of the goalies on the American Olympic team two years ago. I’m not saying I don’t agree with his beliefs but in my opinion he should have just grinned and bared it for the sake of his team.

  2. One more thing. There are countless other ways for someone of Thomas’ celebrity to advocate his views. Join a political organization, organize a protest, campaign for a specific politician you like (I read he’s a tea party guy), speak out in the media, start a blog… whatever. This just seems like an attention grab when given his media profile he could get it in a more constructive way rather than making ultimately empty gestures that embarrass his team.

  3. Yup, that’s the issue I have to, he’s put this issue in the wrong place, this is an event that has nothing to do with politics, it’s receiving an honor, I don’t see the point, this statement would produce what he’s hoping to do, create awareness or whatever, smart people are already aware of it, and Obama’s probably the first president that knows what hockey is, and he still doesn’t care. Nobody in politics in Washington will have cared about Tim Thomas’s stand. So go accept congratulations which is more of a congratulations from you’re country, rather than the government.

  4. Obama actually gave Thomas a shout out saying he was only the second American to ever win the Conn Smythe. I’d be willing to bet 20 bucks he didn’t even know Thomas wasn’t there lol….

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