Shaquille O’Neal Wants to Bring Papa John’s to Every HBCU Campus

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It seems that after Papa John’s founder John Schnatter was forced out for saying the n-word on a conference call last year, the pizza chain has been trying hard to win back Black customers.

And one of the first moves they’ve made was partnering with Shaquille O’Neal earlier this year, who now wants to put a Papa John’s restaurant on every HBCU campus.

Shaquille O’Neal has plans to put a Papa John’s on every HBCU campus. (Photo: Mike Coppola/Getty Images Entertainment via Getty Images)

To do so, he’s teamed up with Miles College, an HBCU located in Fairfield, Alabama, and he’ll make an announcement on Saturday, Oct. 26, with the school’s president, Bobbie Knight. They’ll make the announcement on the Miles College campus in the Student Activity Center at noon.

“HBCUs have been pivotal in the development of young minds; influential in highlighting the history and culture of African Americans and effectively provided a means for academic success,” said O’Neal in a statement. “It is in these great halls of these wonderful institutions that students saw their potential magnified and exemplified.”

“Martin Luther King, Jr. said, ‘If you want to move people, it has to be toward a vision that’s positive for them, that taps important values, that gets them something they desire and it has to be presented in a compelling way, so that they feel inspired to follow,'” he added.

“Join me and President Bobbie Knight of the great Miles College, as we move toward a business initiative that will open avenues of opportunities for our HBCUs. Today is our day. This is our time,” the statement concluded. 

Earlier this year, O’Neal spoke to The Undefeated about joining Papa John’s and said he would only be involved if the company “got some diversity” in its leadership.

So to honor that request, he was asked to come on as a board member.

“‘How about a triple threat?’” O’Neal remembered telling CEO Steve Ritchi at the time. “’Board member; I want to invest in stores to show you I’m serious, and of course I’ll be an ambassador to the brand.’”

O’Neal holds a bachelor’s in general studies, with a minor in political science from Louisiana State University.

He also received a Master of Business Administration degree in 2005 from the University of Phoenix and a Ed.D. in Human Resources Development from Barry University in 2012.

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