LOUISVILLE, KY (CelebrityAccess) — The University of Louisville has dropped the name of Papa John from its stadium in the wake of a racial controversy surrounding the restaurant chain’s founder.
Papa John’s founder John Schnatter was pushed to resign from his position as CEO last week after it was revealed that he used an offensive, racially charged term during a conference call with a marketing agency.
Schnatter also tendered his resignation from the University’s Board of Trustees and had his name removed from he Schnatter Center for Free Enterprise, to which Schnatter’s foundation donated $4.64 million, the Louisville Cardinal reported.
In a series of tweets, University President Neeli Bendapudi wrote:
“In moments of crisis, the best communities find a way to come together. Over the last 24 hours our community has been fractured by the comments made by former UofL trustee John Schnatter.
“These comments were hurtful and unacceptable, and they do not reflect the values of our university. I have decided, with the support of our Board of Trustees, to rename our football stadium ‘Cardinal Stadium’ and to remove John Schnatter’s name from the Center for Free Enterprise at our College of Business effective immediately.
“I have stated since my first day on this job that my commitment to the University of Louisville is to make it a great place to learn, a great place to work, and a great place in which to invest. We can only accomplish this if we truly celebrate diversity, foster equity, and aim to achieve inclusion.
“I appreciate your support as we have reviewed this difficult situation. By taking this action, we renew our community’s commitment to speaking up when it matters, doing what is right, and coming together as one team – our Cardinal family – to heal and move forward. The brightest days for this university are still ahead. Go Cards!”
The stadium has born the name Papa Johns Cardinals Stadium when it opened and the naming rights deal was most recently renewed in 2007 until 2040, leaving a substantial 22 years left on the sponsorship deal.
While the name has changed, Papa John’s Pizza is still available at concession stands within the venue, the Louisville Courier Journal reported.
The 61,000-capacity stadium serves home field to the University’s Cardinals football team and has hosted concerts by U2, Taylor Swift, and Kenny Chesney.