Shaq Joins Papa Johns Board
NBA Hall of Famer Shaquille O'Neal has joined the board of Papa Johns. In addition to appearing in TV commercials and promoting the company in other ways, Shaq will invest in nine of its restaurants in the Atlanta area. Papa Johns will pay the 47-year-old athlete more than $8 million in cash and company stock for the three-year endorsement deal. The company hopes Shaq can repair its image and revive its sales after its founder and namesake, John Schnatter, has caused a few public controversies. He said during a conference call last year that, "Colonel Sanders called Blacks niggers and Sanders never faced public outcry." In the call, he also said that people in Indiana where he was from used to drag African Americans from trucks until they died, which may have been intended as a way of expressing distaste for historical racism -- but some were offended. He stepped down as CEO over comments he made regarding the NFL, saying they were not doing anything about players kneeling or sitting during the National Anthem and should have taken action. He also contributed to Donald Trump's 2016 presidential campaign and made supportive comments about his administration in January 2017. Shaq said Schnatter's comments were "not acceptable" and said he told the company's executives that it needed more diversity in its leadership. He is the first African American to join Papa John's board. "We want to create a culture to let everybody know that they're loved, accepted and wanted," O'Neal said. The only other person of color on the board is Latinx public affairs strategist Sonia Medina. Shaq is also a minority owner of the Sacramento Kings. He’s also an investor in a technology startup, Loyale3 Holdings Inc., and in eSports team NRG Esports. In late 2016, O'Neal purchased a Krispy Kreme location in Atlanta; he’s also the global spokesperson for the company. More here.