Nationals end ties with Papa John’s after founder’s use of racial slur

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Schnatter submitted his resignation Wednesday as a member of the university's board of trustees after Louisville National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) called for Schnatter to either step down or be removed from the board, according to the Courier-Journal.

Schnatter has always been the face of the brand, and the company has acknowledged in regulatory filings its business could be harmed if Schnatter's reputation was damaged.

Several Major League Baseball teams (Marlins, Rays and Orioles) also suspended Thursday promotions centered around the Papa John's brand. The promotion was suspended after CEO John Schnatter resigned in the wake of racial remarks.

Schnatter used the N-word on a company conference call this spring during a training exercise discussing racial issues.

Schnatter remains on the board, and is still the company's largest shareholder with almost 30 percent of the stock.

It's not yet clear how quickly the company will be able to remove Schnatter from marketing materials, the person with knowledge of the decision said. It was still there as of Friday morning.

The deals last through 2040 and include no "morals" clauses that would allow the university to change the stadium's over Schnatter's objection in light of his comments and negative publicity.

"Five years from now, they might be able to start bringing him back".

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".

During the call, he reportedly said "Colonel Sanders called blacks n--" and never faced backlash.

In a statement on Wednesday, the company said it condemned "racism and any insensitive language". For the first three months of this year, the chain said a key sales figure fell 5.3 per cent in North America.