CLEVELAND — Papa John’s Pizza issued an apology to Cleveland and the Cavaliers for making T-shirts with LeBron James’ number and the word “crybaby” under it.
To apologize, Papa John’s will sell Cleveland residents a large, one-topping pizza for 23 cents on Thursday. The 23 is an homage to James’ jersey number. The company also will donate $10,000 to the Cavaliers Youth Fund.
The pizza chain’s T-shirts were featured during the Cavs’ games against the Wizards on Friday in Washington. Wizards fans taunted the Cavs, who won the payoff series that night in Game 6.
The shirts started after James complained about hard fouls, and Wizards center Brendan Haywood called him a crybaby.— Associated Press
I watched the last game of the Cavs-Wizards series in New York, and since a jazz combo was wailing away on the other side of the bar (and some rowdy archivists were shooting pool in the next room), I couldn't hear anything about the "Crybaby" t-shirts a local Papa John's franchise handed out. (Assuming anybody said anything about them during the game anyways, of course.)
At my parents' house on Sunday, I saw the article in the paper and the in-depth report on FOX 8. Brave Astronaut helpfully sent me a link to one of the many, many news reports on the topic. After a little Googling, I came across this comment on the pizza blog The Slice:
Obviously this was not a nationally issued opinion and as the Director of Marketing for a very large franchise with 28 of our stores in Ohio, we are deeply saddened by this judgement call that put all Papa John's stores in jeopardy. I hope that people will see this as something done without consent of every Papa John's owner. PJ Ohio stands firm and supports LeBron James. We are sorry this happened.
The 23-cent pizza offer was also mentioned in the Cavs Insider e-newsletter sent out on Tuesday. Some of the comments in the Cavs' online forum are hi-larious. I like the signatures, too. Some clever graphics:
Here's hoping it goes our way in the rest of the series.
Now playing on iTunes: Bob Seger - Rock and Roll Never Forgets