The fallout from former Papa John’s chairman John Schnatter’s use of a racial slur continued Thursday, with University of Louisville president Neeli Bendapudi saying the school is considering its options regarding the naming rights to Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium. FILE PHOTO: John Schnatter (R), founder and chief executive of Papa John’s Pizza, arrives at the 2011 American Music Awards in Los Angeles November 20, 2011.
REUTERS/Danny Moloshok/File Photo“We haven’t had a chance to discuss it formally, but yes, certainly we are aware that there is a lot of interest in this and we are hoping to come together to discuss it,” Bendapudi told reporters about possibly changing the name of the football stadium. Schnatter, the founder of the pizza chain, resigned from both the university’s board of trustees and his position as Papa John’s chairman Wednesday, after it was revealed he used the N-word on an internal company conference call in the spring.
Schnatter on Wednesday night confirmed he did make the comment and apologized, stating, “News reports attributing the use of inappropriate and hurtful language to me during a media training session regarding race are true. Regardless of the context, I apologize.
Simply stated, racism has no place in our society.” The stadium’s naming-rights deal runs through 2040, according to multiple reports, and could be a tricky one for the university to get out of, per ESPN.
According to the ESPN report, the naming-rights contract is with Schnatter — not Papa John’s — and contains language saying that if Schnatter leaves the company, he has the option to rename the building. At least three Louisville players earlier Thursday tweeted that the name should change.
Wide receiver Seth Dawkins tweeted “We need to change the name of the stadium ASAP, I’m not here for it,” with Cardinals receiver Jaylen Smith responding, “AT ALL.” Fellow Louisville receiver Keion Wakefield tweeted, “Muhammed Ali Stadium has a nice ring to it.
” Ali, the boxing great, was born in Louisville and is buried there. —Field Level MediaOur Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
© 2018 Reuters. All Rights Reserved.