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Papa John's is bringing on some sporting star power as he tries to dig out of a public relations crater the embattled pizza chain announced Friday former NBA star Shaquille o'neal is joining the board of directors coming on as a brand ambassador and as a shareholder Papa John's is eager to turn things around after which image took a beating following reports founder John just matter used a racial slur on a media training call last year it in the data it hurt my employees at her my community the chain was then replaced as the official sponsor of the National Football League by rival Pizza Hut that among other things set off an internal boardroom battle which ended with Schneider stepping down as CEO and finally agreeing in March to leave the board %HESITATION Neil better known by his shortened name Shaq is well loved in the media world since leaving the NBA he's become a pitchman for all sorts of products like medicated cream icy hot carnival cruise line and gold bond powder as part of the deal %HESITATION Neil will invest in nine Papa John's restaurants in the Atlanta area and we'll get over eight million dollars for his endorsements in return Papa John's gets an affable pitchman to front a new ad campaign investors see that as a slam dunk sending the stock higher Friday while the rest of the market slumped