Louisville takes Papa John's off name of Cardinal Stadium
Louisville takes Papa John's off name of Cardinal Stadium
“Regardless of the context I apologize,” Papa John’s founder John Schnatter said Wednesday
13 July, 2018, 22:23
As of Thursday afternoon, Schnatter's image remained all over Papa John's website.
However it manages its public image, Schnatter is still enmeshed in the company. The company 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.
University President Neeli Bendapudi announced change for Papa John's Cardinal Stadium on Friday, as the pizza chain said it is removing Schnatter's image from its marketing. Papa John's did not immediately respond to whether the company would keep using it. In exchange, the company had a naming-rights agreement with the school that extended through December 31, 2040.
The school has a deal that runs through 2040 with Schnatter himself and not the Papa John's brand, but if Schnatter leaves the company he can rename the building, according to ESPN.
Schnatter has always been the face of the brand, and Papa John's has acknowledged in regulatory filings that its business could be hurt if his reputation was damaged. "Absolutely", he said during a press availability in Louisville Friday morning. The person was not aware of any plans to change the pizza chain's name.
Schnatter resigned from the UofL Board of Trustees Wednesday after admitting that he said the N-word in a conference call created to prevent public relations disasters.
In a statement on Wednesday, the company said it condemned "racism and any insensitive language".
"The name may be salvageable with some sort of "new generation taking over" messages, but we don't really know", said Cathy Dunkin, a lecturer in management at Washington University in St. Louis' Olin Business School.
"Colonel Sanders called blacks n--s", Schnatter reportedly said on the call.
While many have put their relationships with the brand on hold, there were a few teams across the league that made a decision to maintain their deals with Papa John's, disavowing Schnatter's comments and praising the brand for its swift action, while cited long-running partnerships with local store owners and operators who shared their values. Several people told Friedland how inappropriate and hurtful his use of the word was. The NFL announced it was ending a partnership with the company earlier this year. For the first three months of this year, the chain said a key sales figure fell 5.3 percent in North America. He is also the company's biggest shareholder, with 30 percent of the stock.
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