April 14, 2003
Backing away slowly

Via Avedon, I see that Dale Petroskey is starting to back away from his disinvitation of Tim Robbins and Susan Sarandon to the Hall of Fame for a celebration of the movie Bull Durham.

[I]n the radio interview, when [asked] if he knew for a fact that Robbins and Sarandon would have used the Hall of Fame as a platform for antiwar statements, [Petroskey] admitted that he did not.

Asked if he simply could have called Robbins and Sarandon to get an assurance that they would keep politics out of the event, Petroskey agreed he could have done that.

"If I had to do it over again, I probably would have picked up the phone and called them,'' he said.

"That's an admission of making a mistake,'' Russo said.

Petroskey, a former White House assistant press secretary under President Reagan, said, "Well, I make mistakes, you know.''

Yes you do, and this was a doozy. The question remains, what will you do to make it right? Just a suggestion: Re-extend the invitation to Robbins and Sarandon, apologize profusely, then resign. It's great that you're willing to admit you're wrong, but until we see some kind of act of contrition it doesn't mean squat.

Meanwhile, Robbins continues to walk the moral high ground:

Robbins, when asked in a telephone interview to respond to Petroskey's statements, said, "I don't buy his backpedaling on this issue.'' He noted that the Hall of Fame had invited the current White House press secretary, Ari Fleischer, to speak at the Hall a year ago and that the news release announcing Fleischer's appearance quoted Petroskey as saying the Hall would hear Fleischer's "perspective on life in the White House and the current political scene, which of course includes the war on terrorism.''

In that instance, Robbins said, "Where was the discussion about baseball?''

Indeed. Just further evidence that Petroskey's problem with the actors was not that they'd have political opinions but that they'd have the "wrong" opinions.

And what would Robbins and Sarandon have done if Petroskey had called them and asked them to refrain from political comments while they were in Cooperstown?

"I don't know,'' Robbins said. "If someone had asked us a direct question, I might have said: 'This isn't the time or place. We can't talk about it.' But I might also have answered a direct question with a direct answer. This is, after all, America. But, look, I'm a big baseball fan. I would have found it a ridiculous assumption to think I was going to Cooperstown to make a political speech. Some of us can separate our political views from our social life."

Game, set, match, I'd say.

On a side note, I realized today that I hadn't read the full text of both letters before, just the quoted bits. Robbins' original response to Petroskey contains some confrontational and openly political paragraphs that had been missing from excerpts elsewhere, not that this changes anything. Thanks to Bureaucrat By Day for the link.

On a different note, The Long Letter has a letter to Tim Robbins asking him some questions about another movie, Bob Roberts. Check it out.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on April 14, 2003 to Baseball | TrackBack

I read in the New York Post (well, it was the only newspaper available) yesterday that Roger Khan has decided to cancel his August speaking appearance on behalf of his new book "October Men". The text of the letter is at http://www.nypost.com/seven/04132003/sports/56571.htm

Posted by: William Hughes on April 14, 2003 12:16 PM

Atrios noted that as well. Way to go, Roger Kahn!

Posted by: Charles Kuffner on April 14, 2003 12:55 PM