Tim Thomas Joins Muhammad Ali, Tommie Smith in Long Line of Athletes to Make Political Statements (Photos)Tim Thomas is not the first athlete to use his platform as a celebrity of sorts to make a political statement, and he will be far from the last one to do so either.

While the Bruins goaltender caused a minor stir with his refusal to join his team at the White House to meet President Barack Obama, several athletes throughout history have caused bigger uproars and controversies with their actions in the political arena.

It seems like every sport and venue has been touched by political controversy in some way. It’s no surprise that the Olympics has had its share of political moments galore, from the U.S. boycott of the 1980 Moscow Olympics to the Black Power salute by Tommie Smith and Juan Carlos. But the rest of the major sports in the United States have been affected as well.

Some of the athletes who have stepped into the political conversation have been derided for their actions. Others have been praised. But what they all share in common was the courage to stand up for what they believed in.

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Thumbnail photo via Facebook/Tommie Smith