The Rays reinstated the discount pizza promotion with Papa John's based on actions taken by corporate officials after the ouster of founder John Schnatter following reports he used a racial slur.
The Rays had suspended the promotion, which offers half-price pizzas the day after they score six or more runs, Thursday following the initial reports.
In a statement Wednesday, the Rays said they "condemn" the remarks and explained the reversal:
"We support the recent actions taken by Papa John's corporate headquarters to remove John Schnatter from the company. Racism has no place in society, and we condemn Mr. Schnatter's remarks. Papa John's corporate team has committed to taking significant action steps to move beyond this incident, including a third-party audit of processes, policies and systems related to diversity and inclusion, supplier engagement and Papa John's culture; as well as establishing transparent goals and a communication process to monitor them that will be applied across all stores.
"Since 2002, the Rays have had a positive, mutually beneficial partnership with local Papa John's owner-operators. We have worked collaboratively in our community and share a dedication to making a positive impact on our neighbors, including frequent donations of food to shared community partners, such as Feeding Tampa Bay, Habitat for Humanity, Ronald McDonald House and CASA. With the commitment from the corporate office to initiate change, and our history of positive collaboration in mind, we welcome the opportunity to continue to work with the local owner-operators in Tampa Bay to bring exciting and valuable promotions to our fans, and to expand our combined community efforts."
The Rays weren't the only ones trying to distance themselves from Schnatter on Wednesday. Local Papa John's franchises released a statement, stressing that each store is independently owned and operated.
"We have been a part of the diverse Tampa Bay community since 1993. We respect and appreciate all our employees and customers equally."
All of this on the same day that the Wall Street Journal reported Schnatter had been in talks with Wendy's about merging the companies before he stepped down. Talks have stymied in the interim.