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Tim Thomas and the art of media delusion

Posted by Eric Wilbur, Boston.com Staff  June 4, 2012 09:50 AM

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It's obviously up to you how you choose to remember Tim Thomas.

I'm going with the guy on the ice, not the lunatic nutjob the local media portrays him to be.

Crazy, right?

Oh, sure, the former Bruins goalie's decision to sit out the 2012-12 NHL season reeks of enough oddity to fill a pistachio farm, but lest he who be judged do the stone throwing, or something to that nature.

Thomas has overcome the odds time and time again, the reason why he will always remain a special treasure for generations.

This time though, he may have taken too big of a bite.

"At the age of 38, I believe it is time to put my time and energies into those areas and relationships that I have neglected," Thomas wrote on his personal Facebook page over the weekend. "That is why at this time I feel the most important thing I can do in my life is to reconnect with the three F's.

"Friends, Family, and Faith.

"This is what I plan on doing over the course of the next year."

One year ago today, Thomas was a 3-2 loser against the Vancouver Canucks in the Stanley Cup Final. You know what happened in the coming days. Thomas would give up just three more goals over the next five games, two after being called out by Roberto Luongo, as the Bruins made their magnificent run to the Stanley Cup. 

Didn't have any problem with him then, did you?

But now that he believes something different than you do, he's Enemy No. 1? Or, at least that is how he's portrayed in some facets of the media. Funny, I thought it was your God-given right to have freedom of speech.

"Easy story lines," writes Kirk Minihane on WEEI.com, "but you and I know the portrait would have been different if Thomas had made it easier for himself by directly telling the media - instead of using Facebook - why he skipped the White House and why he's probably taking this year off. But he had no interest in doing that and the folks writing and covering this team couldn't deal with it. And P.S., it doesn't help that his political leanings don't exactly fall in step with plenty of the folks writing about all this."



There are reasons why people shy away from discussing politics, religion, and the fact that "Attack of the Clones" was actually pretty good. There is such a vile need for people to project their own views upon those they disagree with. Those who choose to discuss their beliefs are free to do so, of course, at the risk of being outcast by others. 

Is Thomas screwing the Bruins with the $5 million cap hit? Yup. Is that unfair? You bet.

If he had retired, it could have been worse. How that makes sense is beyond me.

But in the end, it's his life. His. It's not your life, it's not Stan Fischler's, and it's not Tim from Canton's. It's his. What right does anybody with the least bit of humility have telling Thomas how he should act, walk, and talk?

So the man posts on Facebook, something that has become a tired joke within the confines of the hockey media. You know who else posts on Facebook? My local Home Depot announcing a sale on red cedar mulch. Big deal, right?

That's not the case when it comes to Thomas though, the media breathlessly hovering over his Wall to see what kind of crazy thing he'll say next. Meanwhile, I'm just happy that he doesn't tell me what's for breakfast. And let that be a note for some people, by the way. 

Thomas should have gone down as the ultimate feel-good story, a journey good enough for an after school special. Instead, he'll be portrayed as a selfish quitter by people who clearly don't take enough time to hug their kids.

But this is how I choose to remember Tim Thomas.

Crazy, right?

If you want to remember him as a looney bunker guy, that's your call. If you can't ignore the noise and appreciate what he delivered, that's your right too. 

Professional athletes are professional athletes. They're not your children. What do you care how they conduct themselves? Why should you?

Against the grain, Tim Thomas made a worldwide name for himself. Now he's doing it again for an entirely different and odd reason.

The memories are fresh, but the criticism is even fresher. I'll take the former and like it just because I choose to do so. You want to do otherwise, go right ahead. 

I'm just not going to listen. 

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About the Author

Eric Wilbur is a Boston.com sports columnist who is still in awe of what Dana Kiecker pulled off that one time in Toronto. He lives in the Boston area with his wife and three children. Comments and suggestions for the best Buffalo wing spots are encouraged.

Contact Eric Wilbur by e-mail or follow him on Twitter.


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