Atlanta Deputy Chief Operating Officer Hans Utz has been suspended three days without pay for an internal email containing ethnic slurs, Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed said. The mayor also apologized to Cobb County.
“I just regret very much that a member of my team thought that it was appropriate to make disparaging comments about people that I respect, value and care about and that gentleman has been suspended,” Reed told WXIA.
In that email, Utz wrote, “They are not going to call themselves the Cobb Crackers or the Smyrna S**tholes,” Utz said speaking of the Braves and their new home in Cobb County. “They will still be the Atlanta Braves, and that is an indication of the value of the city.”
The email was part of a chain of emails sent by members of Reed’s staff in response to the Braves’ announcement of a decision to move to Cobb County in November. The emails were made public after an open records request from the Atlanta Business Chronicle.
The response so far from Cobb County representatives has been mixed.
“We look forward to the Braves’ move to Cobb and value our relationship with Atlanta,” said Cobb County spokesman Robert Quigley in a statement made on behalf of the Cobb County Commissioners. “Our focus remains on getting the stadium open by spring 2017 and we look forward to being part of the region’s continued success.”
Some Cobb residents haven’t been so forgiving, nor has a state official who called for Utz’s firing.
State Representative Earl Ehrhart (R-Powder Springs), who helped set up the Braves deal with Cobb, has said he thinks the suspension doesn’t go far enough and that Utz should be fired.