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Louisville football players express concern over playing inside Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium

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The Papa John’s controversy continues to unravel.

Kent State v Louisville Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

Multiple Louisville football players have expressed concern over playing inside Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium in the wake of news that John Schnatter used a racial slur during a conference call in May. Schnatter resigned from the University of Louisville Board of Trustees on Wednesday.

In follow-up comments, both Jaylen Smith and Seth Dawkins acknowledged that their tweets would probably draw attention from someone inside the U of L football program, but that they planned to stand by their opinion.

The current naming rights deal for Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium runs through 2040-41. Interestingly, the deal is with Schnatter himself, not Papa John’s the company. If Louisville wants to change the name of the stadium immediately, it’s likely going to cost them a pretty penny.

Earlier on Thursday, the city of Jeffersonville returned $400,000 to Schnatter which he had previously donated to help build the city’s Nachand Fieldhouse. The city removed Schnatter’s name from the front of the facility on Wednesday.

It’s unclear at the moment which direction U of L will choose to take next, although board chairman David Grissom voicing his support for Schnatter yesterday (and then refusing to answer questions today) provided something of an early answer.

The issue at the moment for Louisville football is pretty obvious. Not only are current players noticeably upset, but this is the also stadium that you’re actively trying to recruit players to come play inside. Maybe that winds up not being a big deal at all to any interested 17 or 18-year-old, or maybe it does.

Just another unforeseen obstacle for U of L athletics.