This story has been updated to include additional comments from Pacers Sports & Entertainment.
During the Indiana Fever’s contest against the Phoenix Mercury on Sunday, a game update was reported as “sponsored by Papa John’s.” Swish Appeal reached out to Pacers Sports & Entertainment, who issued the following statement about the status of their sponsorship deal with the embattled pizza chain:
“We strongly condemn racism and insensitive language and they do not belong in our society under any circumstance and in no way represent the values of Pacers Sports & Entertainment. The sponsorship agreement between the Indiana Pacers and Papa John’s International Inc. recently expired and the Indiana Fever sponsorship expires shortly. We are closely monitoring and evaluating the situation regarding the future.”
In a followup conversation, Pacers Sports & Entertainment expressed that the expired deal between Papa John’s and the Pacers, and the soon-to-expire deal between the Fever and Papa John’s, neither rule out nor rule in the possibility that these deals will be renewed in the future.
In short, a decision has not been made yet, but how Papa John’s handles things moving forward will likely influence Pacers Sports & Entertainment’s next moves. At the time of publication, no WNBA team listed Papa John’s as a sponsor.