The University of Louisville’s football stadium has a new name.
Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium will now be called simply Cardinal Stadium in the wake of a scandal involving the founder of the pizza chain whose company name has been attached to the stadium for years.
Louisville President Neeli Bendapudi addressed a letter to the “U of L Family” on Friday that declared U of L would rename the football stadium and remove the name of Papa John’s founder John Schnatter from the school’s Center for Free Enterprise and its College of Business, effective immediately.
Bendapudi’s letter, which called Schnatter’s comments “hurtful and unacceptable,” said the moves were made with the support of the school’s Board of Trustees.
Schnatter resigned from the U of L Board of Trustees and the board of his company Wednesday after Forbes published a report that he had used the n-word during a conference call. The call was scheduled to help Schnatter with media relations after negative fallout from his comments about NFL protests during the national anthem.
Schnatter acknowledged the report was true Wednesday and issued an apology.
Friday’s removal of the sponsor name from the stadium name came a day after some U of L football players expressed sentiment on social media that they no longer wanted Schnatter’s name associated with the program.
“I have stated since my first day on this job that my commitment to the University of Louisville is to make it a great place to learn, a great place to work, and a great place in which to invest,” the U of L president’s letter said. “We can only accomplish this if we truly celebrate diversity, foster equity, and aim to achieve inclusion.”
Following the announcement, Louisville players Trey Smith and P.J. Mbanasor were made available to reporters.
“I know Papa John’s has a big impact on the nation and he just made a mistake,” Smith said outside the stadium Friday afternoon. “He’s paying the price, obviously. I forgive him.”
Mbanasor confirmed Bendapudi met with the entire team ahead of the announcement.