News of Cleveland’s displeasure with the pizza provider has certainly spread. Several internet sites have popularized the boycott, and the Plain Dealer posted a story on its website early Sunday morning. In it we learn two important pieces of information-
These shirts were not authorized by the corporate office. No, really? You mean they didn’t have a marketing committee meeting where they said “I know, let’s join forces with Brendan Haywood, that genius, and help LeBron James get tagged a crybaby for his career!” Seriously, did anyone think that Mr. John himself has this idea?
The Washington Wizards denied any knowledge of involvement whatsoever in the making or distribution of the shirts. One of the early stories had Papa John’s giving the Wizards shirts with just the PJ’s logo on them for Washington to do with what they pleased. Ok, that would have been a bad idea too, but certainly that might have earned Papa John’s a pass in my book, and made the Wizards the bad guy here. Assuming they are telling the truth, that means…
Someone who works for Papa John’s in the DC area decided to make a name for themselves. They thought that it would be clever to show support for the hometown team and print up a bunch of these shirts, and pass them out at the Verizon Center. Is that worth getting worked up about? You know what? Business decisions are made everyday that make or break companies. Someone needs to be accountable to this because they decided that one market is better, or more important than another. Someone decided that they didn’t care about the stores in Cleveland, and according to Papa John’s core values, they insist on being team players and they want to be held accountable.
Will this boycott go on forever? History tells us not, and I’m not sure that Cleveland fans really want that anyway. We do want some sort of apology and acknowledgement that we were slighted, or more importantly that LeBron James was slighted. Is there a possibility that this ‘crybaby’ tag sticks with him the rest of his career? Yep. I have to imagine that LeBron isn’t very happy with the pizza chain right about now. Regardless of what he may say publicly. Perhaps with this boycott Cleveland fans are trying to show LeBron that we care about him.
Which brings us here. What do we want? What can Papa John’s do to appease the Cleveland fan? If they showed up with free pizzas at the next game does that do it? If they print an apology in the Plain Dealer does that get them off the hook? Should someone lose their job? Do you want Papa John himself to ask LeBron’s forgiveness? How do you want this to end??? Because the last thing I want to see happen is Papa John’s make some lame attempt at an appology and turn it into a marketing campaign and free publicity. So let’s hear it Cleveland fans, what do you want from Papa John’s?