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Papa John's Taps Shaq to Help It's Company Rebound Financial and Reputation Wise



When we got the word, Papa John's Pizza got a new (black) face, Shaquille O & # 39; Neal, the crew at The Root had a field day. "Ask Shaq about his obsession with being a policeman and if he had trouble finding a cap and sugar cane for his soft shoe routine …" quipped one. "The same Shaq who just said that Trump deserves a fair chance? "asked incredibly another.

I was sent to Four Seasons downtown on Friday to get the story, the same day, the company announced that O & # 39; Neal would be the lead in a" triple header ": In addition to franchising nine Papa John's stores in Atlanta, the 47-year-old former NBA champion will appear in advertising for the company and add a cool $ 8 million to his reported $ 400 million net worth, Shaq will also be the first African American on Papa John's Board For the "King of Endorsements", this is just Shaq's latest money move that netted the former NBA All-Star more than he did in his extraordinary NBA career.

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"When I met with Papa John's new management, we talked about:" Hey, there must be some diversity in your leadership, "Shaq told The Root (a page: Shaq is a giant. When he stood I felt that Hagrid could be true, except he is from Newark and named Shaquille. He also has Duke vs North Carolina in the NCAA tournament final. ) "Then I said," We need to create a new culture where there will always be love, respect and welcome. "And I said I would like to help them do that."

I mean, you don't Can Get More Spat-On Than Shaq For What Papa John Is Required Perhaps some high-priced consultants spent scrubbing off the stench and falling stock prices that Papa Johns needed to find a brand ambassador who controlled the following boxes: black; high profile; an athlete; loved by all; not "controversial", and finally a rapper and a law and order type guy. Who is Shaq?

And apparently, Wall Street is here for it, as Papa John's in-the-tank stock rose more than six percent after Friday's announcement.

But some find this particular deal uneasy because Papa Johns has had some "racist controversy" that started with his founder, John "Papa John" Schnatter, who made a racial gaffe so colossal (well two, in quick succession) that he actually had to leave the company he founded. Short version (which The Root included a lot, I think under the heading "Papa John's pizza tastes like racism"): Papa John publicly said that the company was in the tank because of the 2016 NFL protests; white supremacists took it as theirs; Schnatter apologized, then the n-word fell. In a meeting. On diversity. He then dreamed of being asked to rely and said he was being pushed to use the breed's slur.

Schnatter went down as CEO at the end of 2017 and resigned as chairman in July.

However, Shaq seems to be at peace with his decision to partner with Papa, although he noted that Schnatter's behavior was unacceptable.

"Pizza is fun. Everyone loves pizza and pizza everyone loves," Shaq explains.

"Shaquille O & # 39; Neal is in the fun business. When you see this face, it's the face I want you to laugh at …"

He later added: "I've never been the one who never comes into politics, but since I am on the board, we are talking about all things, no one will be excluded, everything will be included. There will be more diversity on the board, but as far as I have never wanted to be a to get into politics. I am a police officer, I respect police officers, I respect people, but politics is not my thing. "

He continued:" Shaquille O & # 39; Neal is in the fun business. you see this face, the face I want you to laugh at, because when you laugh, it creates endorphins, so whatever you go through when you see this face, I just want to forget it, maybe for the rest of the day or forget it. "

Schnatter leaves the table, "when an independent director who is mutually acceptable, replaces him, reports CBS Market Watch. In addition to Shaq, Papa John also brought on board "activist" hedge fund leader Jeff Smith, who was tapped to become his president (note: I was happy when I read "activist" but in this case it is not in Colin Kaepernick's sense). Smith was former chairman of the Darden Restaurants (Olive Garden), apparently going back to the company back-in-the-black (see what I did there?).

And Shaq, who said he initially felt bad for the company's 800 franchisees, is fine with it.

"So I'm not a politician," repeated Shaq for the third time. "I'm an athlete, I'm a businessman, I'm a father, and I'm a community man." And you are a black man, I prodded after saying that this whole thing began over the movement of black living. "And I'm black," Shaq said. "And these are the things I do."


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