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The 37-year-old netminder is deeply concerned about the economy and its impact on his hometown of Flint. Thomas is also a hunter and concerned about Second Amendment issues. He has remarked publicly of his enthusiasm for talk show host Glenn Beck, expressing a secret wish to one day be a guest on his show.
In general, the media will likely respect his right to speak, but whether Thomas is vilified by a left-leaning media for daring to voice conservative views it finds less than fashionable remains to be seen.
Will they wring their hands and wave a scolding finger for his snubbing the President? Would they have felt differently had the player been a leftist and the snub been directed toward, say, President George W. Bush?
It’s worth noting that a number of NHL players come from former Soviet bloc countries, where such freedom of speech was unknown. Jaromir Jagr of the Philadelphia Flyers raised eyebrows over twenty years ago when he revealed his support for U.S. President Ronald Reagan’s fight against communism. Jagr wears Jersey number 68 to commemorate the “Prague Spring” when his native Czechoslovakia revolted against Soviet domination. Both Jagr and fellow Czech (and fellow Flyers) wore “VH” insignias on their helmets when anti-communist hero Vaclav Havel died. Generations of Russian, Czech, Slovak and other Eastern bloc players before Jagr—some of the world’s greatest of their time—were never permitted to flee their communist homelands for western freedom.
Snubbing an invite from Leonid Brezhnev could have gotten a hockey player killed back in the 1970s. Therein lies the beauty of Thomas’ decision. He’s free to do as he chooses, whether it’s fashionable or not. It doesn’t hurt that he is regarded as the indispensable man in the Bruins’ Stanley Cup win.
While his snub of Obama is a bold statement, it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. Thomas has expressed his support for the Tea Party movement by wearing a mask emblazoned with “In God We Trust” on its front, and the Gadsden (“Don’t Tread on Me”) flag on its back panel. He has also donated to FreedomWorks.
Monday night, Thomas released his own statement via his Facebook page: “I believe the Federal government has grown out of control, threatening the Rights, Liberties, and Property of the People,” Thomas announced.
“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.”
While Thomas promises that the statement will be his last on the subject, Edwards begs to differ.
“Nobody’s had a one-statement political career,” Edwards told Frontpage. “Either you’re right and it turns into a groundswell, or there are a lot of people who disagree with you and they feel an obligation to answer you in a louder voice.”
*Defensemen Joe Corvo (Oak Park, IL) and Steven Kampfer (Ann Arbor, MI) are the other two US-born Bruins.
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