Papa John's, which has featured founder John Schnatter as the face of the company in logos and TV ads, is pulling his image from its marketing after he apologized for using the n-word in a conference call. The pizza chain said there are no plans to change its name. Schnatter is still on the board and is the company's largest shareholder—meaning he remains a key presence, per the AP. Papa John's has acknowledged in regulatory filings that Schnatter's public role as its pitchman could be a liability if his reputation was damaged. The company got a taste of that last year, when Schnatter stepped down as CEO after blaming disappointing pizza sales on the outcry surrounding football players kneeling during the national anthem.
This week, Papa John's was already trying to further publicly distance itself from Schnatter after Forbes reported he used the slur in May, while complaining during a media training exercise that Colonel Sanders never got into trouble for using it. Schnatter apologized and said he would resign as chairman. Also Friday, the University of Louisville said that it will remove the Papa John's name from its football stadium, and that it will rename the John H. Schnatter Center for Free Enterprise at its business college. Earlier in the week, the school said Schnatter resigned from its board of trustees. Major League Baseball also is indefinitely suspending a promotion with Papa John's that offered people discounts at the pizza chain after a player hit a grand slam. At least six teams have severed promotional ties as well, reports the Washington Post.
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