In a rather interesting piece found on Mediabistro from October 2011, a survey of 300 people in London, England involved in hiring processes stated that they use social media to screen prospective employees. The sites checked by employers include Facebook (76%), Twitter (53%), and LinkedIn (48%). 69% of those surveyed have NOT hired someone because of what they saw on a social media site. Needless to say, if you're looking for a professional job, you better conduct your life in a professional manner.
This brings me to Tim Thomas. Thomas confirmed through his Facebook page that he will take the upcoming season off to focus on family. I applaud him for focusing on something as important as family, but he's in the middle of a contract. The least he could do is ask the NHL to void his deal with the Bruins so that the Bruins are no longer on the hook for his cap value. Instead, he's just going to sit at home and look after the kids - admirable, but completely selfish from a team standpoint.
Thomas is certainly no stranger from individualizing himself from a team. In January 2012, Thomas took to Facebook to explain why he decided to snub the President of the United States when the Bruins visited the White House. Thomas wrote,
"I believe the Federal government has grown out of control, threatening the Rights, Liberties, and Property of the People. 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.Note the word in capital letters? The Bruins shrugged off Thomas' political message, and Thomas decided that he wasn't going to answer many questions regarding his Facebook message. Reporters simply wanted to get their heads around Thomas' stance, and he refused to play ball which, of course, is entirely allowed.
"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."
But Thomas dug another hole on February 9, 2012 when he decided to post the following message:
"I Stand with the Catholics in the fight for Religious Freedom.Again, reporters wanted to know what Thomas was talking about regarding his bizarre posts on Facebook. And again, Thomas stonewalled reporters by trying to separate his himself into "Tim Thomas of the Boston Bruins" and "Tim Thomas the private individual". While it seemed that Thomas was writing about President Obama's law on contraceptives that requires health insurance plans to provide birth control to women, including those offered by Catholic charities, hospitals and universities, he refused to discuss anything regarding his Facebook page with the media. Check out his interview.
"'In Germany they came first for the Communists, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Communist. Then they came for the Jews, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a trade unionist. Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn't speak up because I was a Protestant. Then they came for me, and by that time no one was left to speak up.'
"– by Martin Niemöller, prominent German anti-Nazi theologian and Lutheran pastor, best known as the author of the poem First they came...."
So Thomas apparently has a problem with the guy running America. That's fine as he's allowed to have that opinion. Everyone is allowed to express that opinion, although I do believe that if he is trying separate himself into the public and private sectors of life, he probably picked the wrong job. However, his views now are swaying from political commentary into dangerous right-wing territory as he takes a stance alongside Chick-fil-a regarding same-sex marriages. Again, it's his opinion, and he's allowed to have one. Here's what his Facebook page had posted.
"I stand with Chick-fil-A.I'm not sure I'd be wholeheartedly endorsing that stance myself, but Thomas feels that the comments by Dan Cathy are similar to his own regarding marriage. There are a thousand different messages one can take from Cathy's and Thomas' comments, but it's clear that homosexual individuals are not welcome for dinner at either household.
"Chick-fil-A is privately owned by the Cathy family. The company president, Dan Cathy, drew the wrath of gay rights advocates and supporters when he made recent statements that some have alleged are anti-gay.
"Cathy told Baptist Press that the company was unapologetically in favor of traditional marriage.
"'Guilty as charged,' he said. 'We are very much supportive of the family – the biblical definition of the family unit. We are a family-owned business, a family-led business, and we are married to our first wives. We give God thanks for that.'
"In a separate interview on the Ken Coleman Show — Cathy suggested that the nation could face God’s wrath over the redefinition of marriage.
"'I think we are inviting God's judgment on our nation when we shake our fist at him and say, 'We know better than you as to what constitutes a marriage,'' Cathy said. 'I pray God's mercy on our generation that has such a prideful, arrogant attitude to think that we would have the audacity to try to redefine what marriage is all about.'
The problem with this stance? Tim Thomas is featured in a Discover card commercial with Alicia Love, a Boston-born comedienne who is openly gay. Here's the commercial.
Upon hearing of Thomas' newest stance regarding same-sex marriages, Alicia Love said, "Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. In a sports-driven city like Boston we want our athletes to focus on the game, not politics. Whether Tim likes it or not, he's part of an organization and he is representing the Boston Bruins. He should use caution when discussing his stance on anything that could potentially alienate a group of people."
And Miss Love's comments are what got me to writing this article. If an employer was screening candidates via Facebook and Tim Thomas was one of the people who had made it through the interview process, would this be someone you would employ?
I'm not here to destroy Tim Thomas, but his views went from a general political statement - "government is destroying America" - to defending the Catholic way of life - "birth control will destroy America" - to defending the biblical definition of marriage - "same-sex marriages will destroy America". The more that Tim Thomas posts on his Facebook site, the more people he offends.
As a man in the public eye as a member of the Boston Bruins, Miss Love hit the nail on the head when she said, "he's part of an organization and he is representing the Boston Bruins". He not only represents a franchise, but he represents a civic entity that the people of Boston pay good money to support. His paycheque is entirely dependent upon the people who cheer him on with every save. Yet Thomas feels the need to alienate certain demographics of fans with each new Facebook post.
So I ask you, the readers of this blog, this question: if Tim Thomas was applying for a job with your company and you found all of these posts on Facebook, would you hire him knowing that he could offend a vast number of people who may frequent your business?
Honestly, if Tim Thomas was smart, he'd shut the hell up while take his one-year sabbatical from the game. The Bruins may still be able to salvage some sort of trade to rid themselves of Thomas' constant distractions if he keeps quiet. But honestly, if you were the GM of any other team, would you still accept a trade for Thomas after all this? After all, it's Tim Thomas THE INDIVIDUAL that signs the contract to play in the NHL.
I know that if I were in the human resources department of any business, there would be a better chance that I'd hire Charles Manson before I hired Tim Thomas. If their resumés crossed my desk, though, I can assure you that neither would even get a call back. My business is dependent on people buying my product or service, and I don't care who is paying me - gay, straight, white, black, tall, short, bald, hairy - as long as the money is legal tender.
As one anonymous Bruins teammate stated to WEEI.com, "He isn’t playing next year, which means he's not my teammate. Which means I don’t have to react to his Facebook posts." While the out-of-sight-out-of-mind mentality may work for now for this unnamed teammate, what do you say to a confirmed bigot when he returns, if he returns?
Personally, if I were the Boston Bruins, I'd have his contract terminated regardless of his ability. Cutting him loose would be the best way for the Bruins to distance themselves from this headache. I can't believe that the Bruins' HR Department allows this sort of statement to stand without it being "conduct detrimental to the team". Cut him loose, and be done with him, Bruins.
If this was any other business, he'd already be on the unemployment line.
Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!