Orioles suspend Papa John's 'Five Runs or More' promotion after founder's resignation

Florence Fletcher
July 14, 2018

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.

Schnatter stepped down as CEO past year after blaming slowing sales growth on the outcry surrounding football players kneeling during the national anthem. Since then, the fallout has been swift: Schnatter resigned from the school's board of trustees and as Papa John's chairman.

In addition to appearing in TV ads, Schnatter's image has been on packaging and at the center of a logo that usually was all over the website of the Louisville, Kentucky-based company.

But the school faced mounting pressure from a number of constituents, including football players Seth Dawkins and Jaylen Smith, to drop the company's name from the stadium.

Keith Hollingsworth, a professor at Morehouse College's business department, said keeping Schnatter on marketing would be a signal to people that the company does not have a problem with his comments, or that it didn't think they were a big deal.

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"Our community has been fractured by the comments made by former UofL trustee John Schnatter", Bendapudi said in a statement she read to reporters, adding that the comments were "hurtful and unacceptable". Papa John's ended its official sponsorship of the National Football League in February 2018.

Papa John's founder John Schnatter says his use of a racial slur was taken out of context, but he feels "sick" about the incident.

Schnatter, a Trump donor, who has resigned from three high ranking positions in the past six months as a result of racist remarks, on Wednesday admitted to using the slur during a conference call in May. While the comments were seemingly meant to denounce racism, several people on the call said they were offended by them, Forbes reported. The company's shares, which had fallen almost 5 percent Wednesday, rebounded 11 percent Thursday after the company announced Schnatter's resignation as chairman. Today, it has more than 3,400 locations in North America. 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.

The Minnesota Twins have "indefinitely suspended" sales of Papa John's pizza from their activation at Target Field, according to a team spokesman.

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