Three Atlanta sports teams suspend Papa John’s affiliation

Three Atlanta sports teams are reevaluating their partnerships with Papa John’s after the company’s founder admitted to using racist language.

The Atlanta Falcons and Atlanta United suspended their relationship with Papa John's Pizza following reports John Schnatter used a racial slur during a conference call in May, a group representing the teams announced Thursday.

A statement from AMB Sports and Entertainment, which is comprised of the Falcons, Atlanta United and Mercedes-Benz Stadium, said the group has indefinitely suspended its affiliation with the pizza chain and will be “evaluating the overall relationship” in the coming weeks. Mercedes-Benz Stadium has at least one Papa John’s vendor inside the stadium.

“The divisive comments made and acknowledged by the company’s founder are reprehensible and do not align with our core values,” the statement said.

The Atlanta Braves have also put their partnership with the company on hold. The Braves moved in step with the MLB and indefinitely suspended its marketing relationship with Papa John’s Wednesday, Braves spokesperson Beth Marshall said in an email.

Forbes said Schnatter used the N-word during a media training exercise in May. When asked how he would distance himself from racist groups, Schnatter reportedly complained that Colonel Sanders never faced a backlash for using the word.

The Falcons and Atlanta United join a list of professional sports organizations which are distancing themselves from Papa John's following the revelation of the Schnatter's remarks. As of Friday, several MLB teams have suspended their partnerships with the company.

Schnatter, who stepped down as CEO of the company last year, resigned from his spot as board chairman Wednesday after admitting to making the comment and apologizing. On Friday, the Associated Press reported Papa John's planned to remove images of Schnatter from its promotional materials.

The Associated Press contributed to this story