Several MLB teams cut ties with Papa John's after founder used N-word in conference call

  • Six MLB teams have suspended relationships with Papa John's since the admission of founder John Schnatter's use of the N-word on a conference call.
  • Other teams have stated that they are keeping their relationship with the brand, disavowing Schnatter's comments but citing long-standing relationships with local owners whose values they share.
  • It's the second time in just the past few months that comments from Schnatter have cost the brand relationships with big partners in the sporting world.


Six MLB teams have now suspended relationships with Papa John's in the wake of founder John Schnatter's admission of using the N-word during a conference call.

While Schnatter has since resigned from his role with the pizza chain, the company is still dealing with the fallout of the controversy, and has now lost promotional deals with teams across baseball — the Washington Nationals, Miami Marlins, Tampa Bay Rays, Kansas City Royals, Seattle Mariners, and Baltimore Orioles have all either paused or cancelled relationships they had with the brand.

16 PHOTOS
Papa John's founder John Schnatter
See Gallery
Papa John's founder John Schnatter
John Schnatter, 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 (UNITED STATES - Tags: ENTERTAINMENT BUSINESS FOOD) (AMA-ARRIVALS)
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 (UNITED STATES - Tags: ENTERTAINMENT BUSINESS FOOD) (AMA-ARRIVALS)
MIAMI, FL - JULY 11: A Papa John's restaurant is seen on July 11, 2018 in Miami, Florida. The founder of Papa John's pizza, John Schnatter, apologized Wednesday for using the N-word on a conference call in May. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - OCTOBER 12, 2014: 'Papa' John Schnatter, founder and CEO of 'Papa John's Pizza' takes part in a radio show prior to a game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Cleveland Browns on October 12, 2014 at FirstEnergy Stadium in Cleveland, Ohio. Cleveland won 31-10. (Photo by Nick Cammett/Diamond Images/Getty Images)
INDIANAPOLIS, IN - MAY 24: Papa John's founder and CEO John Schnatter attends the Indy 500 on May 23, 2015 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 04: John Schnatter and Halston Sage attend a basketball game between the Dallas Mavericks and the Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center on April 4, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Noel Vasquez/GC Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - OCTOBER 12, 2014: 'Papa' John Schnatter, founder and CEO of 'Papa John's Pizza' takes part in a radio show prior to a game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Cleveland Browns on October 12, 2014 at FirstEnergy Stadium in Cleveland, Ohio. Cleveland won 31-10. (Photo by Nick Cammett/Diamond Images/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - APRIL 07: John Schnatter, Founder and Chairman of the Board for Papa John's Pizza, gives a thumbs up before a charity exhibition race against Antron Brown (not pictured) during the the 19th Annual DENSO Spark Plugs NHRA Four-Wide Nationals Saturday, April 7, 2018, in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by: Marc Sanchez/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 31: John H. Schnatter, Founder, Chairman & CEO of Papa John's International, Inc. rings the NASDAQ Opening Bell at NASDAQ MarketSite on January 31, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Rob Kim/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 01: Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones (L) and Papa John's Pizza founder John Schnatter attend the DirecTV Super Saturday Night at Pier 40 on February 1, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Charles Norfleet/FilmMagic)
Spider Man and Papa John Founder John Schnatter at the Spider-Man and Papa John's Honor 'Hometown Super-Heroes' October 29, 2007 in Times Square in New York City. (Photo by Mark Von Holden/WireImage)
LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 20: Founder of Papa John's Pizza John Schnatter attends the Official After Party for the 2011 American Music Awards held at the Conga Room at L.A. LIVE on November 20, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by John Shearer/AMA2011/Getty Images for AMA)
LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 20: 'Papa John's' Pizza Founder John Schnatter arrives at the 2011 American Music Awards held at Nokia Theatre L.A. LIVE on November 20, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/AMA2011/Getty Images for AMA)
NEW YORK - OCTOBER 29: Founder of Papa John's John Schnatter speaks onstage at the Spider-Man and Papa John's Pizza's announcement of 'Hometown Super-Heroes' in Times Square October 29, 2007 in New York City. (Photo by Bryan Bedder/Getty Images)
LOUISVILLE, KY - MAY 06: Paps John's CEO John Schnatter attends the 132nd Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on May 6, 2006 in Louisville, Kentucky. (Photo by Paul Hawthorne/Getty Images)
John Schnatter, founder & Pres. of a chain of Papa John's pizza restaurants, w. employees at one of his 1,049 outlets, making a surprise quality check on a row of pizzas layed out on counter at restaurant. (Photo by Taro Yamasaki/The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images)
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

According to the Washington Post, the Nationals were the latest team to do so, releasing a statement on Friday saying they "do not condone discrimination of any kind," and have suspended their partnership with the pizza chain, adding that the team "remain[s] supportive of our local operators who have been fantastic partners for more than eleven years."

The Miami Marlins announced a similar plan on Thursday, with the Miami Herald reporting that the team was closing the Papa John's concession stand at its stadium as well as suspending a promotional deal with the brand, which gave customers 50% off pizza the day after the Marlins scored five or more runs.

The Rays and Royals halted similar promotions as well.

While many have put their relationships with the brand on hold, there were a few teams across the league that decided to maintain their deals with Papa John's, disavowing Schnatter's comments and praising the brand for its swift action, while cited long-running partnerships with local store owners and operators who shared their values.

"We are glad that at a national level, Papa John’s took swift action to deal with the issue," said the Arizona Diamondbacks, according to ABC15. "From our team standpoint, our partnership is with local owner/operators in Phoenix and completely separate from the national company. That promotion will continue."

The Houston Astros didn't announce any direct plans to continue or suspend its relationship with Papa John's, but gave a similar statement, expressing that the team was "incredibly disappointed with the statements made by Papa John’s founder John Schnatter," while also saying that they feel "confident that the local franchisees and their employees share the Astros’ commitment to diversity and inclusiveness."

While Papa John's was once ubiquitous with the sports world, it's partnerships have fallen off over the past few months due to Schnatter's actions. The brand had formally been the official pizza of the NFL but came to a "mutual decision" to end that relationship after Schnatter blamed slowed sales on player protests.

With its latest controversy, Papa John's relationships with professional sports have diminished even further.

NOW WATCH: This controversial Supercross star has 20 minutes to make $1 million

See Also:

SEE ALSO: A World Cup photographer was run over during Croatia's goal celebration, still did his job, and captured some amazing pics

Read Full Story