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Volume 25 No. 45
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MLB Indefinitely Suspends Papa John's "Papa Slam" Promotion

MLB has "indefinitely suspended its Papa Slam promotion with Papa John's pizza" after company Founder John Schnatter "admitted to and apologized for using the N-word in a May training session," according to Mike Oz of YAHOO SPORTS. Schnatter last night "announced his resignation" as Papa John's Chair. MLB and Papa John's relationship began in '16, when the league "started dubbing grand slams 'Papa Slams.'" Each one allowed baseball fans to get 40% "off their order at Papa John's the next day by using a Papa Slam online coupon code." Yankees 1B Greg Bird last night against the Orioles "hit a grand slam in the third inning," but it was "not celebrated as a Papa Slam by MLB." Many MLB teams have their "own promotions with Papa John's," but those types of deals are "unaffected by MLB's decision to suspend Papa Slams" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 7/11).

TIME TO MOVE ON? SB NATION's Mychal Lowman noted fans after a Jazz win last season could get "1/2 off pizza" from Papa John's through online ordering the next day. But there is "no mincing words now" after yesterday's events, and the Jazz "must sever ties with Papa John's for their promotions and in game food." There are "plenty of other food chains that would better represent the Jazz's values and not be a reminder of the worst that humanity has to offer." Lowman wrote the Jazz should not put any of their players in the "terribly awkward and uncomfortable position of having their face and likeness associated with this brand" (SBNATION.com, 7/11).

LEFT WITH NO CHOICE: In DC, Des Bieler notes it "remains to be seen" if the Univ. of Louisville "moves to change the name of Papa John's Cardinal Stadium," its 65,000-seat football facility. Schnatter "personally holds those naming rights in an agreement reached with the school two decades ago ... and he could potentially make it very difficult, or at least very expensive, for Louisville to distance itself from him" (WASHINGTON POST, 7/12). YAHOO SPORTS' Jason Owens wrote Schnatter is "toxic." As long as it is still called Papa John's Cardinal Stadium, every game hosted on that field "will create a problem." But Louisville "must find a way" to cut ties with Schnatter. The school and program that has been "engulfed in scandal that led to a vacated NCAA basketball championship simply can't afford to continue to be tied to a man associated with racism" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 7/11).

NEW PLAYBOOK? Restaurant Business Magazine Exec Editor Jonathan Maze tweeted, "Papa John’s had built its entire business based on the idea that sports fans order pizzas while watching games. It had deals with the NFL and MLB, among others. Those are done. So the company has to fix that." It also has to "figure out a way to evolve its marketing beyond sports." Maze added, "Rival Domino’s is killing it right now" (TWITTER.com, 7/11).