Papa John's Apologizes for Blaming Poor Sales on NFL Player Protests

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistNovember 14, 2017

NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 31:  John H. Schnatter, Founder, Chairman & CEO of Papa John's International, Inc. rings the NASDAQ Opening Bell at NASDAQ MarketSite on January 31, 2014 in New York City.  (Photo by Rob Kim/Getty Images)
Rob Kim/Getty Images

Two weeks after Papa John's CEO John Schnatter blamed the NFL and player protests for its declining sales, the company has released a statement on Twitter clarifying its position:

This comes after Schnatter questioned the league's leadership for not preventing protests during the national anthem.

"The NFL has hurt us," he said earlier this month, per Darren Rovell of ESPN. "We are disappointed the NFL and its leadership did not resolve this."

"Leadership starts at the top, and this is an example of poor leadership," he added, apparently calling out commissioner Roger Goodell.

Papa John's has a licensing agreement with the NFL as well as 23 additional teams. Per Rovell, the pizza company's stock was down 8.5 percent at the start of the month.

Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk reported Cowboys owner Jerry Jones—who owns multiple Papa John's stores—might have been behind Schnatter's words. Florio added this attack on the league could potentially lead to owners forcing Jones to forfeit his team.

While Jones supported the Papa John's CEO, it's clear the company saw enough negative reaction to create an apology.