Published: Fri, July 13, 2018
Sport | By Kayla Schwartz

Papa John's to remove founder's image from ads

Papa John's to remove founder's image from ads

Papa John's got a taste of that past year, when Schnatter stepped down as CEO after blaming disappointing pizza sales on the outcry surrounding football players kneeling during the national anthem.

U of L President Neeli Bendapudi said she made a decision to rename the stadium and also to remove Schnatter's name from the Center for Free Enterprise that Schnatter helped establish at U of L's College of Business in 2015 with a $4.6 million donation.

On Wednesday, Schnatter acknowledged the truth of a Forbes story that said he used the N-word during a discussion about public relations with the company's outside marketing agency in May. The person was not aware of any plans to change the pizza chain's name.

The Marlins also suspended a similar promotion, saying in a statement that Schnatter's "derogatory and insensitive" comments were not reflective of their organizational values and the inclusive environment they seek to provide.

UofL's Pan-African Studies Chair Ricky Jones tweeted Wednesday: "In a couple of months, black students from the #UniversityOfLouisville and other schools will be expected to suit up and play football in 'Papa John's Cardinal Stadium, ' Anybody with a moral compass would see how that's a little. shall we say. problematic".

Top executives chose to remove Schnatter but details are still being worked out. "Regardless of the context, I apologize".

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Bendapudi did not comment on Schnatter's reaction to the stadium being renamed. There is no clear recourse named in the contract that would allow the university to break the contract should a scandal like this happen.

Papa John's latest controversy has begun to cost the brand relationships with baseball teams across the majors.

Papa John's stock is up almost 3% Friday on the news. "Better Pizza. Papa John's" tagline in that spot.

Bendapudi said she is trying to differentiate between Schnatter and his company, noting multiple times how many people who work at Papa John's and how cutting ties completely could impact them.

The Miami Marlins announced a similar plan on Thursday, with the Miami Herald reporting that the team was closing the Papa John's concession stand at its stadium as well as suspending a promotional deal with the brand, which gave customers 50% off pizza the day after the Marlins scored five or more runs. While the decision to rename the stadium was effective immediately, Bendapudi was not sure when signage will be removed from the stadium.

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