Whitlock: 'Papa John' May Have Been Victim of Smear Campaign

“This was an intentional stirred up controversy to damage Papa John. He supports Republicans, is a hardcore conservative, and people don’t like him. They have unfairly attacked him, damaged his name, and smeared him with the charge of racism. It’s a tactic that’s very popular right now in America.”

-- Jason Whitlock

Jason Whitlock joined Outkick the Coverage Thursday to defend Papa John’s founder John Schnatter, as the former CEO who stepped down from the company on July 11th, is at the forefront of a controversy involving his usage of the n-word during a company conference call.

Schnatter says he used the term during a diversity & sensitivity training session in which he referenced KFC founder Colonel Sanders’ alleged usage of the word when making a point about the racial etiquettes of different eras.

Schnatter admitted it was a poor choice of words, but denies that the comment had any traces of racism or vitriol, which has been suggested by the headline writers of many mainstream media outlets.

The story has disgraced Schnatter, who was already becoming a polarizing figure in his own right after pledging alliances to Republican politics in 2016, and for openly blaming the NFL National Anthem protests on his company’s faltering sales a yea later in 2017, as Papa John’s used to be the league’s official sponsor.

Whitlock says Schnatter has made a lot of enemies the last few years and believes it was finally an opportune moment for those individuals to officially railroad him into irrelevance by falsely branding him a racist. Whitlock believes the usage of the word was obviously a mistake, but not the type of mistake that instantly kills one's career like it currently appears like.

Listen to the full audio below.

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