Six MLB teams have now suspended relationships with Papa John's in the wake of founder John Schnatter's admission of using the N-word during a conference call. The Baltimore Orioles, no strangers to embarrassment themselves in 2018, suspended their efforts to poison fans with 50% Papa John's discounts every time the team scores five or more runs - a promotion activated 29 times in 93 games this year.
AP reports that Schnatter's face had been removed from some marketing materials as early as Friday morning, even though the company says all further details are still being worked out.
No, and late Thursday evening, the Houston Astros showed that it's possible to get this right - at least insofar as standing behind Papa John's as a corporate partner can be described as right.
John Schnatter quits as chairman after using racial slur during a conference call on how to handle controversial situations.
Papa John's isn't the only pizza option at Target Field.
During the call, he reportedly said "Colonel Sanders called blacks n--" and never faced backlash.
Schnatter originally stepped down as Papa John's CEO in December 2017, after claiming that the NFL's handing of player protests contributed to the company's third-quarter earnings slump. 'Regardless of the context, I apologize, ' the statement said. He then resigned as Papa John's chairman and from the University of Louisville's governing board.
Schnatter, who was already drowning in bad PR for suggesting previous year that National Football League anthem protests were hurting pizza sales, arranged last spring's conference call to strategize ways to avoid bad PR.
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.
Earlier this week, Schnatter used the n-word in a conference call orchestrated by a PR company created to prevent future PR screw-ups.
The No. 4 US pizza chain had already been showing less of Schnatter in its major campaigns. "From our team standpoint, our partnership is with local owner/operators in Phoenix and completely separate from the national company".
Papa John's stock is up almost 3% Friday on the news. For the first three months of this year, the chain said a key sales figure fell 5.3 percent in North America.
Papa John's International Inc. began operations in 1984 and had more than 5,200 locations globally.