Published: Sat, July 14, 2018
Sports | By Phillip Butler

Nationals end ties with Papa John’s after founder’s use of racial slur

Nationals end ties with Papa John’s after founder’s use of racial slur

Schnatter founded the pizza company in 1984.

The action came after company founder John Schnatter used the n-word during a company conference call in May, during which he was discussing how to combat negative publicity about the brand.

Schnatter used the offensive term while undergoing training on how to avoid future PR disasters with media agency Laundry Service, after he past year controversially blamed NFL national anthem protests for his company's sagging pizza sales.

Schnatter subsequently said he would resign as chairman and issued a statement of apology acknowledging the use of "inappropriate and hurtful" language. The University of Louisville also said Schnatter resigned from its board of trustees, and that the school will evaluate the naming arrangement for Papa John's Cardinal Stadium, according to the Louisville Courier-Journal. In exchange, the company had a naming-rights agreement with the school that extended through December 31, 2040.

Pizza-craving baseball fans have other - and, frankly, better - options at Target Field, including Pizza Lucé (Section 234), by-the-slice Freschetta (Sections 122 and 318), and stone-oven personals (Carew Atrium). In addition to appearing in TV ads, Schnatter's image is on packaging and at the centre of a logo that is all over the company's website.

The stadium's name will be changed from Papa John's Cardinal Stadium to simply Cardinal Stadium.

The deal provides that if he leaves the company, Schnatter can rename the building.

A person inside the company with knowledge of the decision said the decision to remove Schnatter as the marketing face of Papa John's was made by top executives and the details and exact timing are still being worked out.

Papa John's did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the report.

Schnatter had used the slur during a media training exercise, Forbes said.

Papa John's stock is up almost 3% Friday on the news.

To say things have not been going well for Papa John's seems like an understatement. As of 1:05 p.m. Friday, Papa John's shares are $54.31, up more than 1 percent since the start of the day.

The company can not afford to alienate customers, with sales already under pressure from rivals such as Domino's.

MLB's "Papa Slam" promotion gave people discounts on pizza when players hit grand slams. Today, it has more than 3,400 locations in North America.

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