Two Louisville players call for stadium name change after Papa John’s controversy

Vincent Frank

Papa John’s founder John Schnatter has been in the news for all the wrong reasons in recent months. The latest incident — a racial slur that he used during a conference call back in May — has only magnified this.

Following the slur becoming public record, Schnatter resigned from the Louisville Board of Trustees.

But for members of the school’s football program, that’s not enough.

Wide receivers Jaylen Smith and Seth Dawkins called for Papa John’s to be removed as the namesake of their home football stadium.

Given that the racially insensitive remarks were directed at the African-American community, it’s not a surprise that these two want to drop the program’s association with Papa John’s completely.

For their part, Louisville has said that they’re evaluating the naming rights to their football stadium.

“We haven’t had a chance to discuss it formally but yes, certainly we are aware that there is a lot of interest in this and we are hoping to come together to discuss it,” Louisville president Neeli Bendapudi said Thursday.

Smith, an incoming senior, is pretty much the face of the Cardinals’ program after former Heisman winner Lamar Jackson turned pro this year.

He recorded 60 receptions for 980 yards and seven touchdowns last season. The 6-foot-4 receiver could also very well be a first-round pick in the 2019 NFL Draft.