Mariners suspend relationship with Papa John's following founder's use of racial slur

Mariners suspend relationship with Papa John's following founder's use of racial slur

Louisville's Papa John's Cardinal Stadium is now simply Cardinal Stadium.

Papa John's stock soars after its founder John Schnatter stepped down as chairman of the company in the wake of reports he used the N-word during a conference call. McConnell, an avid Louisville football fan, said "there's no place for racism in this country".

Schnatter then resigned as chairman of the company and from his seat on the University of Louisville's governing board.

Papa John's stock is up almost 3% Friday on the news.

Built in the late 1990s, the football stadium was financed with $20 million in donations from Schnatter and his company - $14 million in personal gifts and $6 million from Papa John's global, according to a pair of naming rights agreements and extensions obtained by WDRB.

When discussing how he would distance himself from racist groups, Mr Schnatter said that Colonel Sanders, the founder of KFC, had never faced criticism for using the N-word, Forbes reported.

Asked whether she was daring the company to sue over the name change, Bendapudi said, "It's not that type of situation at all".

A Papa John's spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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Schnatter blamed Papa John's disappointing sales last fall on protests by NFL players during the national anthem, causing a backlash and leading to his resignation as company CEO in January.

It's not yet clear how quickly the company will be able to remove Schnatter from marketing materials, the person with knowledge of the decision said.

Other MLB teams that had promotions with Papa John's started to distance themselves from the company Thursday since team campaigns operate independently from the league.

Schnatter had used the slur during a media training exercise, Forbes said.

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. Schnatter released a statement Wednesday apologizing, which said in part, "Regardless of the context, I apologize". His image and voiceover do appear at the end of two of the top five TV commercials that have aired nationally so far this year according to iSpot.

Papa John's began operations in 1984 and had more than 5,200 locations globally.

Schnatter is still on the board and is the company's largest shareholder - meaning he remains a key presence.

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