The Astros, a well-run organization that is the defending World Series champion, also included a statement from Houston Pizza Venture president Keith Sullins: "I want everyone in the city of Houston to know that Mr. Schnatter's statements are indefensible and in no way represent the views of anyone in our company", which, just given math and sample sizes, can not possibly be true, but at least reads well. The company got a taste of that previous year, when Schnatter stepped down as CEO after blaming disappointing pizza sales on the outcry surrounding football players kneeling during the national anthem.
In a statement on Wednesday, the company said it condemned "racism and any insensitive language".
When the news of the call broke this week, shares in the pizza chain plummeted by 5.9 per cent, wiping $96.2million off its market value, and Schnatter announced he would resign as chairman.
Schnatter, who served as Papa John's CEO until January, has been prominently featured in the chain's television commercials and print advertisements for years.
Pizza-craving baseball fans have other - and, frankly, better - options at Target Field, including Pizza Lucé (Section 234), by-the-slice Freschetta (Sections 122 and 318), and stone-oven personals (Carew Atrium).
John Schnatter, in happier times both for him and his former company.
Earlier Friday, the University of Louisville has renamed Papa John's Cardinal Stadium "Cardinal Stadium".
Companies can leverage great personal stories to connect with customers, said Keith Hollingsworth, a professor at Morehouse College's business department.
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.
The school is taking action after the pizza chain's founder, John Schnatter, reportedly complained that Kentucky Fried Chicken's Colonel Sanders never faced a backlash for using a racial slur.
Schnatter had used the slur during a media training exercise, Forbes said.
To say things have not been going well for Papa John's seems like an understatement. The Miami Marlins, meanwhile, announced they would be closing the Papa John's concession stand at their stadium. Their statement condemned Schnatter, but noted that the Astros "are proud of our 10-year partnership with Houston Pizza Venture, a local Houston business and owner of the local franchisees".
Papa John's International Inc. began operations in 1984 and had more than 5,200 locations globally.
The company can not afford to alienate customers, with sales already under pressure from rivals such as Domino's.