SEASIDE — The owners of a small independent bookstore have canceled a book-signing event scheduled for Sunday to avoid turning their quiet store into a political battleground.
Linda White, who owns Sundog Books at Seaside with her husband, Bob, said they don't do political book signings and never have. They agreed to have author Clay Travis come in for the signing before they even had a copy of his new book, "Republicans Buy Sneakers Too: How the Left Is Ruining Sports with Politics."
"As soon as we got the book in, people started making comments," Linda said. "It was going to be confrontational. We absolutely respect everybody's point of view and we want to carry all types of books, which we do.
"We don't want to argue with people," she added. "We don't talk about politics."
But Travis, a Nashville resident with a second home in Rosemary Beach, said that, ironically, his book's message is that everything in life, particularly sports, shouldn't be viewed through what he called the "prism of politics."
The book was released Sept. 25. Its cover features a caricature of President Donald Trump dunking on former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick. Kaepernick, who is currently not playing, is perhaps best known for sitting rather than standing during the national anthem before games.
Travis, a regular on Fox Sports television and radio shows, has more than 600,000 followers on Twitter. He said he had been excited about doing the signing.
"I tweeted out that I was going to be there and that I was looking forward to it," he said during a phone interview Thursday.
He said his events have never drawn protestors and that Walton County Road 30A was a particularly unlikely spot for a protest. He added that the bookstore's primary audience was "very, very, very Republican."
"I think (the owners) made it political," he said. "I don't think I did anything political at all."
Sundog, which opened in 1986, is one of Seaside's original businesses. Linda White said they will continue to sell Travis' book, as they have books written about other controversial political figures.
"From now on, when somebody asks to do a book signing, we're going to let them know up front that we don't do political book signings no matter what the title is," Linda said. "We want to make sure everybody feels welcomed here."
As for Travis, he has booked a new signing at a store even closer to his second home. When he returns to South Walton for Thanksgiving, he plans to sign books at Hidden Lantern, a bookstore in Rosemary Beach.