The Redskins introduced Paisano’s as the team’s new official pizza sponsor during Wednesday’s “Taste of FedEx Field” event. The local chain, which will have five concession locations at the stadium, replaced Papa John’s as part of a deal that was signed before Papa John’s founder John Schnatter admitted this month that he used the n-word on a conference call and subsequently resigned as chairman of the board of the Louisville-based company.
While Papa John’s will no longer be available at FedEx Field, the Redskins will continue to partner with local Papa John’s franchisees, as they have for nearly two decades. In recent years, participating area Papa John’s locations have offered promotional deals, including 50 percent off large pizzas and free toppings for touchdowns, the day after Redskins wins. Details of potential promotions for the 2018 season have not been announced.
“We have had an 18-year relationship with the local DMV area Papa John’s franchisees and know them personally as a diverse group of small business owners who are committed to bettering their communities,” Redskins spokesman Tony Wyllie said in a statement provided to The Post. “We are pleased to continue this relationship as the local Papa John’s franchisees will continue their long history of charitable support to give back to many organizations, including the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Washington, and the Washington Redskins Charitable Foundation.”
In February, the NFL and Papa John’s mutually agreed to end a sponsorship agreement that began when Papa John’s became the official pizza of the league in 2010. The relationship between the league and Papa John’s began to sour in November when Schnatter, who stepped down as CEO of the company a month later, blamed national anthem demonstrations by NFL players for sagging sales of his product and called out the “poor leadership” at the top of the league.
Pizza Hut since has been named the official pizza of the NFL. Earlier this week, the Seattle Seahawks, who had been looking for a Papa John’s replacement since last March, announced Pizza Hut as their official pizza sponsor, but individual teams retain the right to form local partnerships with other pizza chains.
Paisano’s, which will offer cheese and pepperoni pizza, Greek salad and wings at its FedEx Field locations, announced it was the new official pizza of the Redskins in a press release July 10. A day later, Forbes reported that Schnatter, on a call with a marketing agency in May, claimed “Colonel Sanders called blacks n—–s” but didn’t face the same backlash that Schnatter had for his comments about players protesting during the national anthem. Schnatter acknowledged Forbes’s report was accurate, apologized and resigned as Papa John’s chairman of the board after his comments were published, and the controversy prompted several teams to suspend or discontinue their partnerships with the company.
In the Washington area, the Nationals and Orioles have suspended their promotional deals with Papa John’s.
“The Washington Nationals do not condone discrimination of any kind,” a Nationals spokeswoman said in a statement last Friday. “Therefore, we have suspended our partnership with Papa John’s. However, we remain supportive of our local operators who have been fantastic partners for more than 11 years.”
The D.C. Breeze, a men’s ultimate team, called Schnatter’s comments “unacceptable and beyond disrespectful” in a statement but, like the Nationals and Redskins, expressed continued support for local Papa John’s franchisees.
Monumental Sports and Entertainment President of Business Operations Jim Van Stone said in a statement last week that the Capitals and Wizards were assessing their relationship with Papa John’s.
“These comments are reprehensible and unacceptable and in no way reflect our values as an organization,” Van Stone said in the statement. “We are currently assessing our relationship with the company and will determine how to proceed. While we are appalled by John Schnatter’s comments, we have had a long relationship with our local Washington-area franchise ownership and appreciate working with them as partners in our community.”
On Friday, a Monumental Sports and Entertainment spokeswoman said the Capitals and Wizards were still in the process of determining how to proceed.
Read more on the Redskins: