The Herald's other cranky columnist, Joe Fitzgerald, is in full dudgeon today because six (so far) Patriots players have said they won't go to the White House for the traditional Super Bowl celebration.
How dare they? Football is a team sport and the Foxborough Six are betraying their team and their fans, Joltin' Joe rants:
Do they have a right to thumb their noses at our new commander-in-chief? Of course they do.
But sometimes we have a responsibility not to do the things we have a right to do, just because graciousness still matters, or ought to, especially to a team that enjoys such goodwill among its rabid fans. ...
Acting in unison is how a football team wins a Super Bowl.
Indivdualism is verboten; even an all-world quarterback understands the importance of conformity.
This is something else. This ought to be a time of plain old togetherness.
It was wrong when Tim Thomas did it a few years ago, and it's wrong now, he continues:
[W]hen Bruins goalie Tim Thomas skipped a White House meeting with Barack Obama after the B’s won the Stanley Cup five years ago, there was nothing noble about it. He simply didn’t like Obama, which was understandable, but no excuse for rudeness.
Um, wait just a second there. Forgetful Herald columnist says what?
Because I have a copy of the column Fitzy wrote on Jan. 25, 2012 about Thomas skipping out on the White House. And he sure made Thomas sound like a noble individualist then:
Some will say Thomas was not only a poor teammate for skipping the ceremony, but maybe even a poor citizen, too.
Please. That’s ideological poppycock. If he had snubbed George W. Bush, he’d be lionized in this town.
Where is it written that, unlike his body, an athlete’s intellect and implied endorsement belong to ownership? They don’t.
Bill Russell put it best: “All a performer owes is a good performance.”
More than any athlete in this town’s grand history, Russell used his athletic prominence to advance his political beliefs, placing himself on the firing lines of the civil rights movement, the personification of having the courage of one’s convictions.
Other local jocks, whose brains were as well-conditioned as their bodies, have been equally vocal, exercising their citizenship: Curt Schilling, Bill Walton, Fred Smerlas.
Somehow that seems different than Celtics owner Steve Pagliuca showcasing Doc Rivers, Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen, Paul Pierce and Rajon Rondo at an opulent Obama fundraiser in the Museum of Fine Arts.
Maybe they wanted to go. Fine.
But Tim Thomas didn’t want to go, and that used to be fine in America, too.
If it still is, then he owes apologies to no one.
So what's changed between 2012 and 2017, Joe?