The relationship between Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed and the Braves has been tepid at best since the team’s stunning announcement last fall to relocate to Cobb County by 2017.
In the months since, the mayor has worked to secure a future for the downtown land and has even voiced support for a $300 million proposal by Georgia State University and a team of developers to build a university sports complex and mixed-use development.
Reed used a press conference on Tuesday to allay fears of the Hawks leaving town, but he also seized the controversy as an opportunity to pressure the Braves to make their plans known.
Reed said he called the press conference — the same day as the Braves groundbreaking — because he was traveling in China last week during much of the Hawks’ controversy. The inner dysfunction of the Hawks franchise made national headlines in the past week and a half after a part-owner’s racially-charged email and a separate executive’s remarks came to light.
City spokeswoman Anne Torres confirmed the city decided on Tuesday morning to hold the press conference, but said suggestions the office was attempting to distract from the Braves’ celebration were “ridiculous.”
The Braves has said they’re waiting to hear from the city following a meeting between the parties in August.
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