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Report: MLB ‘indefinitely’ suspends Papa John’s promotion

Major League Baseball has announced its Papa John’s promotion has been “indefinitely suspended,” Yahoo Sports reportedly has confirmed.

The substance of the promotion involves MLB bestowing the moniker “Papa Slams” upon grand slams. Since 2016, fans have been receiving a 40 percent discount on their Papa John’s order the next day by using an online coupon code. According to Yahoo’s report, that promotion will now cease, at least temporarily.

The suspension of the promotion appears to already be in effect, as New York Yankees first baseman Greg Bird’s grand slam on Wednesday in a game against the Baltimore Orioles was not characterized as a Papa Slam by the league.

Several MLB teams have an individual promotional partnership with Papa John’s beyond the league’s Papa Slam promo. Although two teams, the Miami Marlins and Baltimore Orioles, have already cut ties with the pizza chain, again it would appear on a temporary basis, if not longer. The option whether or not to continue any Papa John’s promotion reportedly is up to each individual team.

The controversy involving one of the most popular pizza chains in America stems from Papa John’s founder John Schnatter using a racial slur during a conference call in May with a marketing agency.

The call was intended to be a “role-playing” exercise in the wake of Schnatter’s public relations disaster last fall when he publicly blamed NFL players’ anthem protests for the company’s declining profits. Schnatter stepped down as CEO on Jan. 1, 2018 and also was replaced as the company’s president and COO.

Schnatter announced his resignation as chairman on Wednesday and issued an apology.

“News reports attributing the use of inappropriate and hurtful language to me during a media training session regarding race are true,” Schnatter’s statement read. “Regardless of the context, I apologize. Simply stated, racism has no place in our society.”