'Bull Durham' Celebration Canceled Over Stars' Antiwar Comments
Robbins Writes Scathing Letter To Hall Of Fame President
POSTED: 10:12 a.m. EDT April 10, 2003
This year's planned 15th anniversary celebration of the baseball movie "Bull Durham" has struck out.
'Bull Durham' stars Tim Robbins and Susan SarandonAccording to The Associated Press, the Baseball Hall of Fame's salute to the movie April 26-27 in Cooperstown, N.Y., has been canceled due to antiwar criticism by two of its stars, Tim Robbins and Susan Sarandon.
Hall of Fame president Dale Petroskey notified the acting couple of his decision by letter this week.
Petroskey -- who was an assistant press secretary under former President Ronald Reagan -- said the couple's antiwar comments made him arrive at his decision.
"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," Petroskey wrote. "As an institution, we stand behind our president and our troops in this conflict."
Robbins said he was "dismayed" over Petroskey's decision, and is going to send him a response letter that says, "You belong with the cowards and ideologues in a hall of infamy and shame."
In the film, Kevin Costner plays a veteran minor league catcher who grooms a hot rookie pitching prospect (Robbins) for the major leagues. A love triangle ensues between the two players and a team rabble-rouser (Sarandon).
Costner was not scheduled to participate in the celebration, which has been months in the making. In addition to Robbins and Sarandon, director Ron Shelton and co-star Robert Wuhl were scheduled to be at the event.
In Robbins' response to the Petroskey's letter, the actor said he was looking forward to a weekend away from politics and war, and was sorry the administrator had "chosen to use baseball and your position at the Hall of Fame to make a political statement ."
He also noted that he didn't know baseball was a "Republican sport." Robbins also noted in his letter it was "absurd that Petroskey suggested his actions put the troops in danger, and wishes the adminstrator would have saved him from "rhetoric," and instead "talked honestly about your ties to the Bush and Reagan administrations."
The cancellation follows a snub of Sarandon last month by a Tampa, Fla., United Way chapter, who canceled the actress' appearance because of her antiwar views. Sarandon responded by calling the organization "shortsighted."
Both frequent protestors, Sarandon and Robbins used their position as Oscar presenters in 1993 to speak out against HIV-positive Haitians being stopped from entering the United States.
However, Sarandon refrained from using her time as a presenter at the Oscars March 23 to state her opposition to the war in Iraq. Instead, she flashed the "peace" sign with her fingers as she approached the podium.
But trouble ensued after the celebration, where Robbins reportedly threatened a Washington Post reporter at an Oscar party for interviewing Sarandon's mother, who is a Repulican.
According to AP, Robbins reportedly told Lloyd Grove, "If you ever write about my family again, I will (bleeping) find you and I will (bleeping) hurt you."