Shaquille O’Neal Joins Papa John’s Board of Directors & Invests In Multiple Stores As It Works To Rebuild Image Post N-Word Controversy
Papa Shaq? NBA Hall of Famer, Dr. Shaquille O’Neal shared on Friday that he will be the new face of Papa John’s as the 4-time NBA champion joins the franchises board of directors. O’Neal will also invest in nine Papa John’s stores in Atlanta and become the restaurant’s brand ambassador. In a tweet, O’Neal writes,
“Time for a pizza party! I’m excited to join Papa John’s as a member of the Board of Directors and investor in 9 stores in Atlanta. Excited to work with Papa John’s team members and customers.”
Jeff Smith, the chairman of the Papa John’s board of directors, spoke about their partnership with O’Neal. Smith says,
“Shaquille has an excellent entrepreneurial background, including as a restaurant franchise owner, and is a natural creative marketer. Shaquille has demonstrated great success through understanding the customer value proposition with product and brand differentiation. ”
The news of O’Neal joining forces with the pizza franchise comes after their former founder, John Schnatter, w allegedly used the N-word during a conference call last summer, according to reports.
On a conference call, Schnatter was asked how he would distance himself from racist groups online. He responded by downplaying the significance of his NFL statement. “Colonel Sanders called blacks n—–s,” Schnatter said, before complaining that Sanders never faced public backlash.”
Schnatter later resigned from his position and issued a public apology for his actions.
“News reports attributing the use of inappropriate and hurtful language to me during a media training session regarding race are true. Regardless of the context, I apologize. Simply stated, racism has no place in our society.”
After his retirement from the NBA on June 1, 2011, Shaq has continued working in and off the court. He is currently one of the faces of the Icy-Hot patch, and a sports analyst on the television program Inside the NBA on TNT. He also recently opened a restaurant in Los Angeles.
What are your thoughts on Shaq joining the Papa John’s franchise? Let us know in the comments!