OSU cuts ties with Papa John’s Pizza

Papa John's founder John Schnatter

Oregon State University's athletics department announced Monday that it was suspending its sponsor relationship with the company just days after Schnatter resigned as chairman of the board, a decision he has reportedly since said he regrets doing.

Papa John's was a long-term National Football League sponsor.

He is also questioning how the company's board investigated his use of a racial slur.

Schnatter came under pressure after a media report that he used a racial slur and graphic descriptions of violence against minorities in a conversation with the company's former media agency, Laundry Service. Schnatter said that the agency requested $6 million "because they claimed some of their people had been offended by what I had said", he wrote.

"I will not allow either my good name or the good name of the company I founded and love to be unfairly tainted", Schnatter wrote.

"They wanted $6 million to make it go away". "They made it pretty clear. They tried to extort us and we held firm and they took what I said and they ran to Forbes, and Forbes printed it".

A spokeswoman for Laundry Service has previously declined to comment on the Schnatter incident and did not immediately respond to a second inquiry on Tuesday.

Papa John's worldwide founder John Schnatter told the pizza company's other board members on Saturday that he regretted stepping down as the company's chairman last week, saying he gave into pressure without a fair investigation the facts surrounding his admitted use of racial language on a private conference call in May. The call had been intended as a training session on how to avoid public relations mistakes.

Schnatter said he refused to work with West because "he uses the "N" word in his lyrics", according to the letter.

The founder of the Papa John's pizza chain can no longer occupy an office in the company's sprawling Louisville, Ky., headquarters, a special committee of the chain's board of directors said.

He told a local station in Louisville on Friday that he was goaded into using the slur during the conference call.

Papa John's has already asked Schnatter to stop talking with the media about the company, the statement said, and has formally ended the "Founder Agreement" it had that defined Schnatter's role as the image and spokesman for the brand.

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