Braves say there’s no agreement on Aaron statue, but Bottoms releases emails saying otherwiseHank Aaron accepts the Intellectual Properties Legends Award as Georgia State University President Mark Becker and the Braves' Terry McGuirk look on (Photo by Maria Saporta)
By Maria Saporta
The plot thickens.
After Keisha Lance Bottoms announced that the iconic Hank Aaron Statue would be staying in Atlanta based on a agreement she had reached with the Atlanta Braves, a spokeswoman for the baseball teams said that wasn’t true.
“We were surprised by the release from Keisha Lance Bottoms as we do not have an agreement regarding the Hank Aaron statue,” wrote Beth Marshall, a spokeswoman for the Atlanta Braves.
“We believe the statue should be located wherever Hank Aaron would like it to go and we have stated this position to Ms. Bottoms,” Marshall continued. “The Braves organization is committed to respecting his wishes and we are hopeful that Ms. Bottoms has this same position. We are in discussions with Hank, and once he makes his intentions clear to us, we will make the appropriate arrangements. Regardless, we will honor Hank and his legacy with the Braves in a significant way at SunTrust Park. Hank is and will always be a treasure to us and our community.”
When contacted about the Braves statement, Bottoms sent over several emails she recently exchanged with Mike Plant, the executive vice president of business operations for the Braves.
Bottoms not only told the Braves she would be announcing that they had reached an agreement regarding the Hank Aaron Statue, she asked if they wanted to provide a quote for the release.
Here is a copy of that email exchange (email addresses have been deleted):
On Feb 5, 2016, at 11:58 AM, Keisha Bottoms wrote:
I have received an inquiry from a reporter on the Hank Aaron statue, and I will share that we have come to an agreement. I think this is an opportunity for us to highlight the spirit of cooperation we have as we navigate this transition. If you’re interested in providing a quote for a press release, let me know.
From: “Plant, Mike”
Date: February 7, 2016 at 12:35:05 PM EST
To: Keisha Bottoms
Cc: “Perestuk, Eric”
Subject: Re: Hank Aaron Statue
Keisha. We won’t be making any additional comments on this subject. Thanks for letting me know. Mike
Bottoms also let Plant know that Henry Aaron’s wife, Billye Aaron, was “very happy” the statue would be staying in Atlanta.
Here is that email exchange:
From: Keisha Bottoms
Date: February 3, 2016 at 3:52:26 PM EST
To: “Plant, Mike”
Cc: “Perestuk, Eric”
Subject: Re: Meeting and Next Steps
As fate would have it, I saw Mrs. Aaron at a luncheon this afternoon and was able to speak with her about the statue. I told her that we had a very good meeting this morning, and if they are in agreement, the statue will remain. She is was very happy and said that they are in full support of that agreement.
On Feb 3, 2016, at 11:53 AM, Plant, Mike wrote:
Thanks for this info. I will get our team together to review and respond.
Bottoms also released a copy of the agreement between the Braves, the Metropolitan Atlanta Olympic Games Authority and the Recreation Authority that states the the property around the stadium will belong to the Authority. That would include the statue.
Note to readers: In an attempt to get their perspective first-hand, I have called and left messages for both Hank and Billye Aaron. Once there is a comment from them, I will update this story. Maria