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WILMINGTON (CBS) – “I’m out. Peace.”
That’s how Tim Thomas ended his media availability Thursday after the Bruins practiced at Ristuccia Arena.
After two or three questions about the Bruins’ recent struggles, including their embarrassing 6-0 loss in Buffalo Wednesday night, the conversation shifted to Thomas’ Facebook posting from Wednesday afternoon. In it, Thomas used a poem from an anti-Nazi philosopher to sum up his position on a contraception requirement included in an Obama administration healthcare policy.
While this isn’t the first time Thomas has taken to Facebook to air his views – no one will ever forget his decision to skip the Bruins’ visit to the White House and post his opinions about “Big Government” on his page – this time around the two-time Vezina Trophy winner took a specific stance on a hot-button issue.
However, the activist side of Thomas that’s so boisterous on Facebook quickly returned to its turtle-like shell when he was confronted in person by media requesting more information on his opinions and philosophies.
“I say that that’s my personal life, it has absolutely nothing to do with the Bruins or hockey. And I’m going to use my right to remain silent,” said Thomas in response to the first question about his Facebook post.
Thomas used pretty much the same response when asked about whether he’d consider a career in politics after hockey, and when asked whether he thinks his teammates are being impacted by his suddenly attention-grabbing public opinions.
Then Thomas decided to give a lesson in the difference between life and hockey.
“This is my job. Facebook is my personal life. That’s why,” said Thomas about the decision to post things where all the public can read them. “If you guys don’t understand the difference between an individual and what they do as a job, or an athlete and his personal life, then I think there’s a problem.”
Obviously, no one has taught Thomas about the privacy features of Facebook, where he could actually limit who gets to read his proclamations and pronouncements. Or he knows and is just trying to call attention to the matters he deems important without having to actually expand upon his views.
Regardless of the questioning of Thomas, and the fact that many of his teammates were asked about Thomas being a distraction, head coach Claude Julien doesn’t think there’s any dissension in the ranks nor does he blame anything dealing with Thomas’ politics on Boston’s current 5-6-1 run.
“I don’t think I’ve heard anybody, starting from our owner to management to coaches and players, I don’t think I’ve heard anybody support his opinion. But I’ve heard everybody say that we support him as a player, and we do,” said Julien. “We’ve got good team chemistry in that dressing room. Guys certainly don’t, I’ve said that before, we don’t mix politics with our hockey team. And that continues to happen.
“It’s probably something that people would think [is affecting us] because of how poorly we’ve played lately. But I can assure you that there’s no issues in the dressing room, there never will be and that’s where, we’ve got a really good group of players in there that don’t let those kind of things bog them down. And it hasn’t. If it had, I’m telling you right now, I’d feel it. There’s absolutely nothing going on. The guys are just going about their business. So certainly it’s not a distraction and never will be used as an excuse because it isn’t one.”
Thomas, who earlier had explained that the media has a right to ask questions about his Facebook posting but he also has a right to decline to answer, made it clear toward the end of his time in the dressing room that from now on he would end any media discussion once he gets a question about politics. When asked if he regrets making Wednesday’s posting, he put his head down and made a bee line through the crowd toward the Bruins players’ lounge.
“I’m out. Peace.”
The Bruins can only hope that things continue to be peaceful now that Thomas has discovered the power of Facebook.