Papa John's Driven Out of Professional Sports after Founder's Racist Conference Call Comments
To date, 20 athletic organizations — from collegiate sports to professional sport leagues (MLB, MLS, NBA, NFL) — have cut ties with Papa John’s after founder and former CEO John Schnatter’s N-word comments on a conference call. The severing included renaming stadiums and discontinuing or suspending promotions and partnerships.
Oregon State is the latest to cut ties with Papa John’s. In the statement, Beavers Vice President and Director of Athletics Scott Barnes said, “The derogatory and insensitive comments made by Papa John’s founder John Schnatter are not reflective of Oregon State University’s values and the inclusive environment we strive to foster throughout the university community and within OSU Athletics for all student-athletes and fans.”
Last week, the University of Louisville announced the renaming of their football stadium from Papa John’s to “Cardinal Stadium.”
Even his hometown in Indiana returned a $400,000 gift for a new gymnasium.
In addition to being disowned, the company’s stocks plunged in the wake of the incident and soared immediately after Schnatter resigned as chairman. He said yesterday he believed resigning at the request of the board was a mistake and that they didn’t do a proper investigation of his racial slur usage.
He has hired a lawyer to fight the board’s decision, demanding a special review committee (the board granted it), and Los Angeles trial attorney Patricia Glaser says Schnatter is “not going quietly.”
He still owns 29 percent of the company shares, worth about $500 million, but he is no longer allowed to use office space at corporate headquarters in Louisville, Ky., and the company said he will no longer be in any advertising or marketing materials.