Another day, another strange turn in the Tim Thomas saga.
The day after posting another politically-charged message on his official Facebook page, the Boston Bruins goalie balked at answering questions regarding his statement before cutting off the interview and walking away from reporters.
“I’m going to use my right to remain silent,” Thomas said, courtesy CSNNE.com’s Joe Haggerty. “You have the right to ask the questions and I have the right not to 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 then said “I’m out…peace,” before ending the interview and walking away.
We highlighted this possible conundrum on PHT yesterday. The more Thomas speaks politically (and publicly), the greater the chance he’ll be asked questions about it. What’s more, the questions don’t have to be about his political leanings anymore, because this situation has entered “potential distraction” territory.
The following are all viable, hockey-related queries:
— Do you think this is a distraction for the team?
— Are your teammates supportive of you posting on Facebook?
— Has anyone within the organization spoken to you about this situation?
There’s also this to consider — the harder Thomas stonewalls reporters, the harder they’ll look elsewhere for answers. Case in point: Haggerty went to Bruins coach Claude Julien for his take on the situation.
Does it sound like Julien’s pleased about how this is playing out?
Thomas can complain all he wants about reporters asking him questions about his “personal life,” but that won’t stop the questions. Maybe the Boston media will grow tired of hearing “no comment,” but what about reporters in other markets? They’ll be sure to ask him when the Bruins are in town, and then they’ll ask his teammates and coach.
When you’re a public figure and you wade into an emotionally charged political debate, that’s the deal.
Thomas has a choice — get his message out there and become a potential distraction for the team, or don’t. If he thinks getting his message out there is worth the price, he’ll do it, and so he should. But the price will remain.
Related: Here’s Haggerty on Sportsnet Central discussing the incident.