The founder of the Papa John's pizza chain, John Schnatter, resigned as a Louisville trustee Wednesday after a story of him using the N-word on a conference call went mainstream.
Schnatter has long served as a prominent booster at Louisville, and even owns the naming rights to the Cardinals' football stadium.
"News reports attributing the use of inappropriate and hurtful language to me during a media training session are true," Schnatter said in a statement obtained by ESPN's Darren Rovell. "Regardless of the context, I apologize. Simply stated, racism has no place in our society."
Schnatter also stepped down Wednesday as Papa John's chairman amid the controversy.
He drew scrutiny during the 2017 NFL season when he linked his company's declining sales to player demonstrations during the national anthem. Papa John's had been the official sponsor of the NFL, but the league cut ties with Schnatter's chain after his outburst, replacing it with Pizza Hut.