BOSTON - Tim Thomas's decision to skip a White House ceremony with American President Barack Obama because he believes the federal government is "out of control" points to a growing lack of courtesy in the U.S., Gov. Deval Patrick said Thursday.
Patrick, a Democrat, was asked about the controversy Thursday during his monthly "Ask the Governor" program on WTKK-FM. He didn't directly criticize the Boston Bruins' goalie but suggested the snub showed disrespect toward the presidency.
"He's a phenomenal hockey player and he's entitled to his views," Patrick said. "It just feels like we are losing in this country basic courtesy and grace."
The governor said while he strongly disagreed with many of the policies of former President George W. Bush, a Republican, he was always respectful when they met.
"I always referred to him as Mr. President, I stood when he came into the room. There are rules to live by," Patrick said.
Obama hosted the Bruins at the White House on Monday, honouring the club for capturing its first Stanley Cup title in 39 years. Thomas received the Conn Smythe Trophy as the playoff MVP for leading Boston to its championship win over the Vancouver Canucks.
Thomas explained his choice to skip Monday's ceremony in a statement posted on his Facebook page.
"I believe the federal government has grown out of control, threatening the rights, liberties, and property of the people," he wrote.
Thomas blamed all three branches of government and both political parties.
"This was not about politics or party, as in my opinion both parties are responsible for the situation we are in as a country," he said in the statement, adding he did not plan to speak further about his decision.