It was July 11, 2018, when John Schnatter (Papa John) resigned as Board Chairman of Papa John’s Pizza. His resignation came after he used the N-word on a public relations conference call, but his fall from power began earlier. Schnatter is most known for his work as Papa John and his fall from power. However, many don’t know he graduated from Jeff High in 1980.
Schnatter’s problems began in November 2017 when he expressed his disappointment over the peaceful protest of African-American NFL athletes taking a knee during the national anthem. The company tried to smooth over his comments, but the damage had been done.
In January 2018 John Schnatter stepped down as Chief Executive of Papa Johns, following a sales decline, partly linked to the NFL scandal, and in February 2018 Papa Johns ended their partnership with the NFL.
In May 2018 the conference call occurred in which Schnatter used the racial slur, yet the incident would remain unknown until July 11. The day John Schnatter lost everything. Soon after the news of his resignation spread, multiple partners and contracts were suspended. The University of Louisville began the process of renaming “Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium,” and many others began the process of removing the brand from their own.
Then, less than a week later, July 17, Schnatter started talking. He first walked back his resignations saying, “he was kinda provoked” in saying the racial slur. He also expressed regret over his decision to resign before the board did a full investigation. Despite his fight, by August 1, 2018, John Schnatter had been erased from all forms of advertising of Papa Johns.
Despite the loss of his company, Schnatter still maintains the John Schnatter Foundation which makes many charitable contributions. He has recently been using his foundation to help the Southern Indiana and Louisville community.
Most recently, Schnatter gave $500,000 to Jeffersonville High School for a turf baseball field and a replacement of the outer fencing, The stadium and facility will be named the John Schnatter Stadium, but the field will remain Don Poole Field.
John Schnatter has made many mistakes, and his use of racial slurs is inexcusable. However, this is the real world. John Schnatter has expressed remorse, and he is trying to help. Through this donation, he is helping his community and our school.
I believe in principles, but I also believe in practicality. This donation helps everyone, and while many will always associate his name with accusations of racism, we must also acknowledge the good his actions have and will do for the community.