John Schnatter

Papa John’s Pizza Founder John Schnatter has issued an apology to anyone who was offended after he used a racial slur during a conference call with a marketing company.

Schnatter, the founder and ex-CEO of Papa John’s Pizza, publicly apologized after word leaked that he used the racial slur during a role playing exercise with a marketing company in May.

“Colonel Sanders called blacks N—s,” Schnatter said during the training exercise for damage control after he pulled Papa John’s NFL commercials amid the ongoing NFL player protests in November.

Schnatter blamed the NFL protests for a slowdown in sales of Papa John’s Pizza. He stepped down as company CEO in December.

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

Schnatter also resigned from the University of Louisville board of trustees, the university announced Wednesday.

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