What to Know
- The fallout comes after John Schnatter faced scrutiny for using the N-word on a conference call earlier this year
- Several MLB teams are ending their relationship with Papa John's
- The University of Louisville is renaming its stadium
Major League Baseball teams are leading the way in cutting ties with Papa John’s after the company’s chairman of the board admitted to using a racial slur on a conference call in May.
The Marlins, Nationals, Yankees and Orioles have all suspended their relationships with the company, the teams confirmed to NBC. The Rangers have also suspended their Papa John’s promotion, according to The Dallas Morning News.
The Royals, Mariners and Rays also split with Papa John’s, according to The Washington Post. Those teams didn't immediately respond to NBC’s request for comment.
The fallout comes after John Schnatter, who also founded Papa John’s, faced scrutiny for using a racial slur on a conference call earlier this year. He used the word during a media training exercise, according to a Forbes report.
The Marlins were among the first teams to cut ties with the restaurant franchise, announcing Thursday they were “immediately suspending our relationship and promotions with the Papa John’s brand,” according to a statement.
Houston in a statement condemned Schnatter’s remarks but didn’t announce plans to end its relationship with local Papa John’s restaurants.
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Major League Baseball ended its promotion with the company, which gave fans a 40 percent discount on purchases the day after a player hits a grand slam, according to Yahoo! Sports. MLB didn't respond to NBC's request for comment.
Though MLB teams are at the forefront of ending relationships with Papa John’s, the University of Louisville also faced pressure to take action after the Forbes report surfaced. University President Neeli Bendapudi announced the school’s plans to remove the restaurant’s name from the school’s stadium. Formerly Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium, the facility will just be called Cardinal Stadium.
Schnatter’s name was also removed from the Center for Free Enterprise at the school’s College of Business.
Schnatter, who stepped down as the company’s CEO last year, said the company’s slow growth was a result of the attention NFL players who refused to stand for the national anthem drew. In February, Papa John’s announced it would no longer be an official sponsor of the NFL.
In a letter, Papa John’s CEO Steve Ritchie said Schnatter won’t appear in the company’s future marketing or advertising materials.
The company distanced itself from Schnatter this weekend, taking away his office space at company headquarters and instructing him to stop talking to the media, according to CNBC. Schnatter accused a media company of trying to blackmail him for $6 million last week.