Papa John's

Getty Images

Yankees Suspend Relationship With Papa John's Over Use Of Racist Slur

July 13, 2018 - 4:38 pm


Add the Yankees to the list of those distancing themselves from Papa John's.

The team announced Friday afternoon it is suspending its relationship with the pizza chain.

The move comes after company founder John Schnatter used the N-word on a conference call in May. Schnatter was complaining during a media training exercise that Kentucky Fried Chicken's Colonel Sanders never faced a backlash for using the racial slur, Forbes reported. Schnatter also commented that people in his home state of Indiana used to drag African-Americans from trucks until they died, the report said. 

He apparently intended his remarks to convey that he is against racism, but multiple people who were on the call were offended, a source told Forbes.

Schnatter has apologized and said he would resign as chairman. Schnatter stepped down as CEO last year after he blamed poor pizza sales on national anthem protests in the NFL, of which Papa John's was a sponsor. He remains on the company's board and is the largest shareholder.

But the backlash over the comments has been swift. Papa John's is removing Schnatter's image from its marketing materials. The University of Louisville announced Friday it is scrubbing the Papa John's name from its football stadium. Schnatter's hometown of Jacksonville, Florida, has returned a $400,000 donation from him to restore a historic gym that carried his name until earlier this week.

Major League Baseball's Washington Nationals, Baltimore Orioles, Kansas City Royals, Tampa Bay Rays, Miami Marlins and Seattle Mariners, the NFL's Atlanta Falcons and Major League Soccer's Atlanta United have also severed ties with the company, according to multiple reports.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.