My previous post, reporting on shirts sponsored by Papa John’s declaring Lebron James a “Crybaby”, had become cluttered with so many updates, I decided to summarize them in a new post. Since I first posted the story a little less than 24 hours ago, the news has really taken off, with coverage from the Cleveland Plain Dealer, and a number of Ohio residents urging a boycott of the pizza chain.

Let’s summarize what has happened in the past 24 hours:

By mid-afternoon Saturday, the story was starting to spread like wildfire. Cavs fans online began suggesting a boycott HERE, HERE, HERE and HERE. In the comments of my original post, a delivery driver for Papa John’s wrote:

“We received two faxes talking about the shirt, followed by threats to boycott.”

A General Manager for a Northeast Ohio Papa John’s added:

“we have received calls of people wanting to boycott us, but hopefully something will come out ASAP from Corporate as a nationwide apology.”

Around 5 PM, the Cleveland Plain Dealer contacted me for an interview as part of a story they were planning to write about the shirts.

By 7 PM, Deadspin, FanIQ, Cold Mud, AOL’s Fanhouse and more than a dozen other online communities had picked up the story.

Shortly after 11 PM, the Cleveland Plain Dealer posted their story about the t-shirts on their website. The story notes, among other things, that the decision to give out these shirts was NOT authorized by the corporate office.

By 11:30 PM, I had received word that less than 24 hours after So Good broke the story, someone had put up a website called Boycott Papa John’s:

Around 1:30 AM on Sunday morning, I learned that someone has started a Facebook group titled Cavs fans that will never eat Papa Johns ever again

This story seems to be spreading faster and faster, and the snowball effect is continuing unabated. I would imagine Papa John’s will have to make a statement or an apology soon, before the “Crybaby” t-shirt news spirals further out of control. If the article written by the Cleveland Plain Dealer ends up in their print edition tomorrow morning, it will be interesting to see what effect that has on the volume of complaints coming from Cavs fans.

27 Responses

  1. Eick

    Wait…the guy who thought up the shirt idea is a jackass? Or are you saying I’m a jackass merely for reporting on the story?

  2. The Enforcer

    My Bad! Let me rephrase…..They (Papa John’s) are jackasses

  3. Ohio Papa John's Team Member

    I really don’t think that there is any need to call us jackasses!

  4. John Layfield

    Also “Ohio Papa John’s Team Member”. You say you are a manager, why do you speak like someone with a mental disease in a special education class in 6th grade? Poor grammar here.

    As for 23 cent pizza’s, let me guess, it’s a small or medium pizza with pepperoni? You’re gonna be slapping them together all day the day before and during the day Thursday. Having stacks sit there as people call for their 23 cent pizza.

    You wanna give us a good deal, offer us 50% off everything on the menu for a day, don’t give us garbage for 23 cents and tell us that’s a deal.

    I could buy a car that didn’t work for $50 but why would I want it? Same goes for some crummy pizza’s for 23 cents.

    I say 50% off ALL food.

  5. Nancy M. Pelosi

    “John Layfield”…layoff Papa John’s. You’re probably not even a Cavs fan but a bitter, anti-business blockhead looking for a handout. You appear to be more like an “ambulance-chasing”, any-cause-when-I-can-get-something-free-is-my-cause-too j-hole. Get a life.

  6. a papa john's helpful friend

    It is all of your choice to bad mouth papa john’s, but the bottom line is that it was not the stores in Ohio that did this. Why would u punish the stores in Ohio when we are not the ones to blame. It may have been a papa john’s logo on that t-shirt but it had nothing to do with the stores in Ohio. As it is stated all over the internet it was a marketing ploy done by a franchise in Washington D.C. that went horribly bad. As for the 23 cent pizza it is a large 1 topping, that is available at the 40 stores in and around Cleveland. on this coming Thursday from 11am to 11pm. As for the statement that we will be slapping them out before hand, that is not the case we will be doing them to order, so that our customers will be getting a fresh pizza that they can enjoy as an apology from all of us at papa john’s.

  7. Nancy M. Pelosi

    “Matt Boner”…you mom must be very proud of you and your stellar command of the english language.

  8. Nancy M. Pelosi

    Even the “Speaker” cannot rely on spell check all the time.

  9. John Layfield

    First of all Nancy, I run my own business, a successful one that stretches from Cleveland to Columbus, Toledo, Sandusky, Youngstown and even Cincinnati. I don’t chase ambulances for a living hunny, that’s your job.

    My issue is simply this. They’re offering us garbage and charging us for it as a way to apologize. If you want to apologize to someone give them something worth the value of an apology, not stack hundreds of undercooked small sized pepperoni pizza’s in the corner.

    Are you apologizing to meat eater’s only? What about the Vegetarian’s? What about the families of 4 or more, are you apologizing to them? If so do they get 2 pizza’s so the entire family can have more than 1 slice?

    I understand corporate America and it disgusts me, anyone with true intellect can see through this lame attempt at an apology.

    While I do enjoy watching the Cavaliers, this is more about the disgusting way Papa John’s is handling this situation rather than it being about Lebron, the Cavs or anything else for that matter.

    The only thing Papa John’s is doing right now is wishing Lebron’s number was 99, more money in their pocket.

    I am done with their pizza place for good.

  10. Kaci-Ohio

    Lets all bash papa johns for a decision of one idiot. lets possibly put hundreds out of work because some ignorant man decided to use his right of free speech. SO WHAT! your doing the exact same thing. your writing horrible comments about a company that employs thousand to millions of people who donates millions to different charities around the world. and for those of you saying papa johns needs to make a formal apology maybe you should inform yourself better before you open your mouth. a public apology was made the very next day once the news hit corporate offices. they donated money to the Cleveland cavs youth team. and the are selling .23 pizzas to make a statement, unfortunately for the small franchise owners who are feeling the wrath of food costs and overabundance of competitors this will hurt them more than you can imagine. I am a long time customer of papa johns and I will go Thursday to my local PJ’s and I will pay regular price for my pizza cause not only do I support local business I support freedom of speech. Would it be such a big deal if cavs fans wore shirts saying whiny wizards? GET OVER IT!!!

  11. Ohio Papa John's Team Member

    To “John Layfield” I don’t know why you feel the need to personally attack me and say that I “speak like someone with a mental disease in a special education class in 6th grade”. I never said anything about you or to you. You seem like someone who complains about everything and that you need to pick on someone else to make yourself feel better as a person. The pizzas will be a large 1 topping of the customer’s choice. This means that it is not just for meat eaters, it is for vegetarians also. I would say of your choice but you have already said that you are not going to have our pizza again. The way you talk about how you think our pizza is garbage I don’t think that you ordered from us anyways. I know a lot of people that love our pizza including myself. That is one of the reasons that I choose to work at Papa John’s. If you think that our food is garbage why would it matter if we are doing 23 cent large 1 toppings or 50% off everything on the menu, you wouldn’t be ordering anything anyways. By the way it doesn’t bother me that you will never order again because you seem like you would be a very difficult customer anyways. The dough will be slapped out and made as the orders come in. Each person who comes in will get a large pizza not just 1 per family. So if 4 people come in they each will get 1 for 23 cents. You obviously have not informed yourself. Papa John’s is not making any profit on Thursday from selling these pizzas. All the money is going to the Cleveland Cavaliers Youth Fund. So saying that we wished his number was 99 makes not sense. Papa John’s is also throwing in an extra $10,000.

    I want to thank everyone that understands our side of the story and has stuck up for the Papa John’s here in Ohio. I know that we all really appreciate it!

  12. Nancy M. Pelosi

    My dearest “John Layfield”, please, go on, tell us all exactly what about corporate America disgusts you. Is it their ability to provide jobs, provide leaps in technology, invest and reinvest within their industries as well as potential expansion into other arenas OR are you claiming that your stated success has been realized all on your own. I congratulate you on your success and thank you for providing jobs [I’m assuming] to fellow Americans but know that you and the ilk like you amaze me…complain, moan, whine and preach negatives about the VERY system, infrastructure and marketplace in general that has allowed and accommodated for your success. Simply remarkable! Obviously, ours is not a perfect system BUT it is the best in the world for ANYONE to advance if they plan, work and expect to sweat, toil and even get bruised in the process of gaining and securing personal wealth, be it monetary, pride or passing something to others. I wonder, are you by any chance a closet socialist or for that matter an open socialist. If you’re SO disgusted with corporate America, yet so willing to compliment yourself on your business success as well as utilizing America’s glorious [and I will add ‘free’] marketplace, I challenge you to try your business plan elsewhere, say Sweden, Amsterdam, Canada or France…”bon chance” [that’s French for ‘good luck’] and please don’t forget to send me a postcard!

  13. Karen

    Oh geeze, get over it already. Papa Johns is good pizza and I have no problem with them. I’ll order from there and pay regular price, I will ask that the money also be donated to the Cavs youth fund. What ever happened to free speech? All this froma T-shirt, what a shame. For all of you trashing Papa Johns, go to Dominos, or Pizza Hut dont bother Papa’s we dont need you.

  14. Pop

    Those of us who think the shirt was darn funny should donate 23 cents to Papa John’s to keep them from going broke. When he apologizes for wearing the Yankees hat behind the Tribe’s home plate, then, and only then, can he whine about the pizza shirt. BTW, Go CAVS!

  15. Zydrunas Will Kill Gilbert Arenas

    listen first of all fuck papa jonhs pizza….for the simple fact that there food aint even that good, and for a place of buissness that dont get much buissness as it is the have no right to say wat they said….second of all they don’t call him king james for nuthin…so whoever decided to have a big vainy dick put up their ass that day and decided to make those shirts need to go and fuck a goat..lololololl….and while he is at it he can have gilbert stick his snickers bar between his booty hole and give a new meaning to the word crybaby….

  16. Nancy M. Pelosi

    Only in this great America can one display his/her ignorance and lack of education without getting their cabesa [or cabeza] sawed off like a fine piece of Irish Dubliner, a nutty, robust cheese everyone should try, grated over their favorite pasta dish…”Zydrunas Will Kill Gilbert Arenas”, you really should go back to school and learn to express yourself with the English language. No one will take you seriously unless you begin to use your brain to come up with words, phrases and sentences that are coherent and not laced with the latest filth. I’m not trying to censor you but your language clearly shows your stupidity; there are lots of great words out there that anyone can use and they’re free! Try expressing yourself without cursing, I dare you…use the brain you’ve been given and do not waste our air with your foolish, self-indulgent and pubescent speech…be careful with what you say, your character will show through!


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