Rangers Suspend Papa John's Promotion in Wake of Pizza Chain Scandal - NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth

Rangers Suspend Papa John's Promotion in Wake of Pizza Chain Scandal



    Rangers Suspend Papa John's Promotion in Wake of Pizza Chain Scandal

    In the wake of a scandal involving a racist slur that has forced the resignation of Papa John's Pizza founder John Schnatter from the company's board, the Rangers are suspending all promotions and advertising deals with the embattled pizza chain, The Dallas Morning News' Evan Grant reports.

    The Rangers had no other comment on the matter.

    Schnatter acknowledged using the slur on Wednesday and announced plans to step down from the company.

    Papa John's announced Friday they were pulling Schnatter from company marketing materials, though he is still on the board and is the company's largest shareholder — meaning he remains a key presence.

    The Washington Post reports a number of MLB teams have suspended their relationships with the pizza maker, including the Marlins, Nationals, Royals, Mariners, Rays and Orioles.

    The Dallas Cowboys and Papa John's have had partnerships and sponsorship agreements going back years. When asked Friday if the Cowboys had any plans to alter their promotions with the pizza chain, they would only say that Papa John's is still one of the team's sponsors and that it's against company policy to discuss any details publicly.

    Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones is said to own more than 100 Papa John's franchises.

    Late Friday afternoon, FC Dallas confirmed they, too, had suspended all promotions with Papa John's.

    Elsewhere, the University of Louisville said Friday they were removing the Papa John's sponsorship of their football stadium -- going forward Papa John's Cardinal Stadium will be Cardinal Stadium.  Schnatter, who is a former UofL trustee, will also have his name removed from the Center for Free Enterprise at the university's College of Business.

    Friday afternoon, Steve Ritchie, CEO of Papa John's International, released the following letter:

    Papa John’s is not an individual. Papa John’s is a pizza company with 120,000 corporate and franchise team members around the world. Our employees represent all walks of life, and we are committed to fostering an inclusive and equitable workplace for all. Racism and any insensitive language, no matter what the context simply cannot – and will not – be tolerated at any level of our company. The Board of Directors of Papa John’s accepted Mr. Schnatter’s resignation as Chairman of the Board earlier this week. It has also been decided he will no longer be in any of the advertising or marketing materials associated with the brand. This decision is the first of several key steps to rebuild trust from the inside-out. We will be engaging a broad set of stakeholders to chart a course forward that demonstrates our commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion. First, we will identify and retain an independent and outside expert to audit all of our existing processes, policies and systems related to diversity and inclusion, supplier engagement and Papa John’s culture. As part of that process, we will establish a process for communicating progress against transparent goals to everyone in our Papa John’s family. The entire senior management team will also be visiting key locations across the country and hold listening sessions with employees in our stores to talk about what they are seeing and give them a platform to voice their concerns. To follow-up, we will initiate two-way conversations to invite ongoing feedback from employees and franchisees to ensure that their voices are heard. I will personally be leading this effort because there is nothing more important for Papa John’s right now. We want to regain trust, though I know we need to earn it. We will demonstrate that a diverse and inclusive culture exists at Papa John’s through our deeds and actions.