John Schnatter claims he was pushed to use racial slur

John Schnatter a/k/a Papa John saw his effort to restore his image implode this week, with the report from Forbes.com that he made racially inappropriate remarks during a conference call with a firm hired to help him turn around the way people view him. Instead of simply taking his lumps, counting his cash, and/or watching his shares of Papa John’s International, Inc. increase in value due to his departure from the company, Schnatter has some more things to say.

For starters, he says he was essentially nudged into using the racial slur that became the death knell for his time with the company he founded.

It’s hard to find teams that will surprise these days. Saying the Texans doesn’t work, because they were in the playoffs two years ago. The Chargers wouldn’t qualify either, nor would the Niners, since both spent the offseason wearing out their sleeper status. So let’s go with the Colts.

For one, the AFC looks down, in general. For another, GM Chris Ballard has done a pretty solid job turning over the roster. The defense, with safety Malik Hooker expected to be healthy and a bevy of young talent coming aboard, should be better, and the offense promises to be much tougher. The question is the obvious one. What version of Andrew Luck will Indy have? If it’s close to what he was in 2014, they’re a contender right now.

Adam Schefter of ESPN said this morning on SiriusXM NFL Radio that it’s possible Bell stays away until the middle of the year. Of course it’s possible. But the far more important question is whether it’s likely.

Bell would lose more than $8.5 million if he skips 10 regular-season games. In return, what would he get? Other than avoiding possible injury, he’d have no leverage because the Steelers wouldn’t be able sign him to a long-term deal until after the regular season ends.

Sure, the Steelers could give Bell more than $14.5 million on a one-year deal, or add other terms like incentive targets and a commitment not to use the franchise or transition tag in 2019. (The franchise tag would cost roughly $25 million next year, so that’s likely not happening anyway.) But the Steelers, who like to dictate terms to players and don’t like having players dictate terms to them, probably wouldn’t be inclined to do that.

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