For the second time in two weeks, a long-planned event that was to feature an appearance by Susan Sarandon has been canceled because of the actress’ antiwar views. This time, it was a celebration of the 15th anniversary of the movie ”Bull Durham,” scheduled for April 26 and 27 at the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y., which was supposed to include a reunion of the film’s writer/director Ron Shelton and stars Sarandon, Tim Robbins, and Robert Wuhl. (What, was Kevin Costner too busy?) But Hall president Dale Petroskey sent a letter to Sarandon and Robbins on Tuesday, telling them he’d scrapped the event rather than give a platform to the antiwar couple, the Associated Press reports.
The weekend commemoration of ”Bull Durham,” the 1988 baseball comedy that brought Sarandon and Robbins together offscreen as well, had been planned months ago, but recent antiwar activism by the two actors apparently prompted Petroskey to reconsider. In his letter, he defended their right to free speech but said that the couple also had an obligation to speak responsibly. ”We believe your very public criticism of President Bush at this important – and sensitive – time in our nation’s history helps undermine the U.S. position, which ultimately could put our troops in even more danger. As an institution, we stand behind our President and our troops in this conflict,” he wrote.
The Cooperstown cancellation comes two weeks after a United Way chapter in Tampa canceled a fundraising luncheon to which Sarandon had been invited to speak about volunteerism and women taking leadership roles. The chapter said it had received three dozen complaints about Sarandon’s booking.
Robbins told AP he was ”dismayed” by the Hall of Fame’s decision and said he was preparing a letter in response. ”I am sorry that you have chosen to use baseball and your position at the Hall of Fame to make a political statement. I know there are many baseball fans that disagree with you, and even more that will react with disgust to realize baseball is being politicized,” Robbins wrote. ”I wish you had, in your letter, saved me the rhetoric and talked honestly about your ties to the Bush and Reagan administrations.” (Petroskey was President Reagan’s White House assistant press secretary.) Robbins wrote that he didn’t realize baseball was ”a Republican sport.”