Oregon State Beavers suspend Papa John's sponsorship

Oregon State Beavers suspend Papa John's sponsorship

Schnatter, while still serving as Papa John's chief executive, said last November that the National Football League had hurt the pizza chain's sales.

In a July 14 letter to members of the pizza chain's board, Schnatter denied using the "N-word" in a deliberately derogatory way during a May 22 diversity training session held with the Laundry Service, an marketing firm used by Papa John's.

Oregon State Vice President and Director of Athletics Scott Barnes said Schnatter's comments are not reflective of the university's values and the inclusive environment the school strives to offer.

Schnatter came under pressure after a media report that he used a racial slur and graphic descriptions of violence against minorities in a conversation with the company's former media agency, Laundry Service. Schnatter says he used the word while describing how Colonel Sanders spoke, but that he would never use it as an epithet.

Papa John's also continues to cut ties with Schnatter over the incident. He stepped down as CEO following backlash but had remained as chairman of the board. The board is now trying to kick him off entirely and, in response, Schnatter has now said it was a mistake for him to step down as chairman. I agreed, though today I believe it was a mistake to do so, ' he said in the letter, which was obtained by the Wall Street Journal. "I will not allow either my good name or the good name of the company I founded and love to be unfairly tainted".

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Recently, the board committee barred Schnatter from talking to the press and moved to remove his likeness from all marketing materials.

Schnatter said he is "absolutely not" a racist.

"We know we can do better and I'm confident that we will", CEO Steve Ritchie said in May.

"The company has specifically requested that Mr. Schnatter cease all media appearances, and not make any further statements to the media regarding the company, its business or employees", it said in a statement late Sunday.

At least five sports teams have dropped partnerships with Papa John's, and two universities have distanced themselves from the company or Schnatter in the wake of his comments, as has the mayor of his hometown of Jeffersonville, Indiana.

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