The NFL may have severed ties with Papa John’s six months ago, but that isn’t stopping the Indianapolis Colts from maintaining a relationship with the company.
The controversy began last November when then-CEO John Schnatter blamed the company’s falling sales on the NFL’s failure to resolve the issue of players kneeling in protest during the national anthem. He stepped down as CEO on January 1 but remained the company’s chairman. However, the damage was done, and in February the NFL ended its relationship with the pizza chain. Things continued to go down hill as Schnatter proceeded to use racist language in a May conference call intended to rehabilitate his reputation, and in July the Papa John’s board forced him out for good.
The Colts said that they did not believe they should change course “because of the significant corporate changes made by Papa John’s.” They’re not the only professional sports team maintaining a relationship with the brand. After initially cutting ties with the company, the New York Yankees have now resumed their relationship, though they do intend to re-brand at least some of the logos at Yankee Stadium to emphasize that Papa John’s franchises are locally owned.
Sports teams aren’t the only ones that have walked away from Schnatter and Papa John’s: Purdue University removed Schnatter’s name from a building in the wake of his comments.