The University of Louisville announced that it would change the name of its Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium, removing the name and logo of the famous pizza chain after its founder became embroiled in controversy over use of a racial slur.
Louisville president Neeli Bendapudi announced the removal of the Papa John’s name after the company’s founder, John Schnatter, admitted to using the n-word during a company conference call, Sporting News reported.
UofL President Neeli Bendapudi announces she has renamed the football stadium simply “Cardinal Stadium”. States she also has the support of the board of trustees for the move. pic.twitter.com/zs9nDFo1wx
— Mark Ennis (@MarkEnnis) July 13, 2018
“Over the last 24 hours, our community has been fractured by the comments made by former UofL trustee John Schnatter,” Bendapudi said on Friday. “These comments were hurtful and unacceptable, and they do not reflect the values of our university.”
Bendapudi added that she made the decision unilaterally without consulting anyone else at the university. She also noted that she spoke to Schnatter who she said was contrite over his actions and agreed with the removal of his name from the stadium.
The naming right to the stadium is part of a deal that the school has with Schnatter himself, and not with the pizza chain. His deal, running through 2040, allows him to rename the stadium if he leaves his company, ESPN reported.
Schnatter had already resigned from the university’s board of trustees on July 11.
Several players had expressed a desire to have the Papa John’s name removed from the stadium.
We need to change the name of the stadium ASAP, I’m not here for it 🏾♂️
— Seth Dawkins (@dawkins5_) July 12, 2018
AT ALL https://t.co/84JlAPznli
— Jaylen Smith (@JaylenSmith_12) July 12, 2018
Muhammed Ali Stadium has a nice ring to it.
— Keion Wakefield (@BoobieWake11) July 12, 2018
The university is not the first sports facility to dump the Papa John’s name. Schnatter’s hometown of Jefferson, Indiana, already removed his name from a basketball gym and his photo was removed from the city’s Wall of Fame.
Schnatter resigned from his company on July 12 after taking flack for using the n-word during a training session on workplace behavior. During the conference call, the pizza chain founder observed that Colonel Harlan Sanders of Kentucky Fried Chicken fame — who died in 1980 — used the n-word and no one ever came down on him.
Some on the call insisted that his use of the word made them uncomfortable.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.