Now a song has been written about poor ol’ John Schnatter, the pizza man. Rapidly becoming a cartoon caricature of the kind of person everyone loves to hate. Happy ending not possible.
The rapid decline of Schnatter from a fabulously successful businessman to an angry and frustrated untouchable is chronicled by Don R. Mueller, PhD, a former physics professor and New York blogger recently profiled in The New York Times.
The blows just keep coming for the disgraced pizza icon. He has a way of offending someone every time he opens his mouth. A casualty of the cultural wars, unable to negotiate the slippery slopes of the politically correct landscape, antagonizing the people who made him filthy rich.
Always looking for a fight it seems. No longer welcome at Cardinal Stadium or the University of Louisville campus. The last Papa John’s signs were trucked away from the stadium last week. He’s not even wanted at the corporate headquarters of the company on Papa John’s Boulevard in Louisville.
The Pizza Man discovering the hard way that money can buy only so much love. He has only himself to blame.
John Schnatter didn’t do anyone any favors with his off-the-wall statements during the University of Louisville board of trustees’ meeting on Wednesday. Least of all himself and the business he founded.
The usually affable spokesperson for Papa John’s comes off looking like a jerk and sounding like a dolt, casting unfounded aspersions toward the UofL athletic department. He also seems to have a short memory, having been one of the most generous supporters of the stadium that bears his company’s name.
Somehow Schnatter got the notion that the UofL athletic department is being mismanaged, and that the expansion of Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium is an example of bad leadership under Tom Jurich. Nevermind that athletic department is probably the most successful part of the university or that Jurich is widely regarded as one of the most effective athletic directors around. The UofL department is self-sufficient, one of the best-funded in the nation, and more than $45 million has been raised from corporate donors for the $50-plus million stadium expansion.
Yet here’s Schnatter saying, “”Until you fix athletics, you cannot fix this university. You have to fix the athletics first. I have looked at this eight ways to Sunday. You have to fix athletics first, and then the university will get in line.”
There was an issue with the basketball program and it has been addressed by the university, and more punishment will be forthcoming from the NCAA. But other than that, Schnatter’s comments make no sense. This board of trustees should be able to recognize that the athletic department is a shining example of what can happen for the entire university under the right leadership.
One suspects that Schnatter may have been unduly influenced by comments from Interim President Greg Postel during a previous meeting. Postel allegedly told Schnatter that Jurich was “invisible,” not answering to the UofL board of trustees.
That makes no sense because Tom Jurich has always gone overboard to be open with all segments of the community, including the university. This explains in part why the athletic department has been transformed under his leadership.
Postel’s assertion is typical of university politics, with one segment being envious of a more successful unit. Happens all the time on university campuses. Maybe Postel’s real agenda is to get a piece of some of the money that the athletic program is so good at generating.
Postel, no doubt, did not expect Schnatter to quote him. If there was any possibility of Postel receiving serious consideration for the President’s job, he can forget about that possibility after Wednesday’s board meeting. He can thank John Schnatter for going off the deep end, stripping Postel of his anonymity.
Schnatter can expect Papa John’s Pizza to take a hit in Louisville, with some fans voicing support for a boycott on local message boards on Thursday. So many choices of pizza, so easy to narrow them down.
Maybe Wednesday was just a bad day for John Schnatter, and in the future, he and Tom Jurich will some day chuckle about the episode. But first Schnatter has a lot of explaining to do. His bizarre comments had nothing to do with reality.
[stextbox id=”custom”] From 411mania.com about the upcoming season of Glee: “Santana isn’t in New York, but is instead doing her cheerleading scholarshop at the University of Louisville, and her relationship with Brittany is ‘in a good place.'”
It’s anybody’s guess as to whether the show will include footage from Papa John’s. Glee is a musical TV series airing on the Fox Network.
A total of 24 of the 33 suites â€œbeing added to an expanded Papa Johnâ€™s Cardinal Stadium have been leased,â€ andÂ theÂ facilityâ€™sÂ 28 existing suites â€œalso are sold out.â€ The $73M expansion of the football stadium is â€œexpected to be finished in July.â€ The stadium suites â€œseat 18 with standing room for eight others,â€ and they â€œcost $50,000 a year in a four-year lease agreement.â€
Louisville Arena Authority Chair Jim Host said that he â€œhas been â€˜totally shockedâ€™ at the level of success experienced by U of Lâ€™s sales team,â€ and he â€œpraisedâ€ Louisville AD Tom Jurich and his staff. Cincinnati-based Association of Luxury Suite Directors Chair Bill Dorsey said that he is â€œunaware of any university in the country currently taking on two large suite sales projects, and he described the pricing of boxes in the Louisville venues as higher than average and â€˜aggressiveâ€™ in a down economy, particularly for facilities without a professional sports tenantâ€
Funny how the perceptions of some fans shape their views because of their disrespect for something or someone, particularly in the case of Steve Kragthorpe and University of Louisville football.
Attendance at the Southern Mississippi game, for example. The observer has seen estimates ranging from a half-empty stadium to one that was only three quarters full. The official attendance was 37,258.
One thinks that some must have made their minds made up before kickoff when those estimates would have been pretty accurate. Five minutes after the game started, it was a far different story, except for the upper reaches of the end zone.
From someone who has been watching Louisville football for decades, the turnout was impressive — considering the negative vibes around the program. The observer will go with the official estimate. For the record, there were some much smaller crowds at some games during the legendary Bobby Petrino era.
Oh, and here’s that photo again:
[No, the observer is not an apologist for Steve Kragthorpe, and makes no apologies for Louisville football.]