LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- After admitting to using a racial slur, Papa John’s founder John Schnatter stepped down as one of the University of Louisville trustees, but critics was him to give up even more.
“We need to change the name of the stadium ASAP. I’m not here for it,” Cardinals wide receiver Seth Dawkins tweeted, to which teammate Jaylen Smith added, “At all.”
The two are part of the team which plays its home games at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium. Some wonder if the pizza chain branding should be removed. It’s not that simple for University President Dr. Neeli Bendapudi.
“I need to be truthful with you. You also have to separate the organization, which is how many thousands of employees and you think about the individual versus the organization,” Bendapudi told reporters after a Board of Trustees meeting, “These are men and women in your neighborhood who work all over, so this is a difficult question I don't yet know the answer to.”
To get rid of the Papa John’s name at the stadium and around campus, the university would likely have to renegotiate with Schnatter directly, since the contract for the stadium naming rights are through him.
Bendapudi said the school is evaluating the contract and what steps could be taken.
One thing is certain, Schnatter will not be associated with the Nachand Fieldhouse in his hometown of Jeffersonville. His childhood friend and now mayor, Mike Moore, confirmed he returned Schnatter’s $400,000 check Thursday morning.
“When we were here last August and he was making the commitment for the funds it was a great day. Local boy makes good comes back and writes a big check. A great story. It just didn't have the ending we had hoped for."
Moore said he had not spoken to Schnatter.
Bendapudi said she had not spoken to the Papa John’s founder either, but expected to hear from him and have an important discussion.
“I'm sure that he will say that he is sorry that he has hurt so many people including, I know, students that he cares a great deal about.”