Papa John’s Pizza Says Ongoing NFL Protest Has ‘Hurt’ Business

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"We are disappointed the NFL and its leadership did not resolve this," said Papa John's CEO John Schnatter of the ongoing national anthem protests.

Executives from the pizza chain Papa John’s are blaming the NFL— and not their less-than-mediocre pizza — for the decline in its sales.

According to ESPN, the company’s founder and CEO, John Schnatter, expressed disappointment by the ongoing national anthem protests and their impact on the business — which is the official pizza company of the NFL.

"The NFL has hurt us," Schnatter said. "We are disappointed the NFL and its leadership did not resolve this."

As a result, the company has had to pull much of its NFL TV advertising, and the league has responded by simply offering them more spots in the future.

"Leadership starts at the top, and this is an example of poor leadership," Schnatter said, adding that he thought the issue had been "nipped in the bud" a year and a half ago.

Papa John's president and chief operating officer Steve Ritchie said research indicates that the company has been the most recognized sponsor affiliated with the NFL for the last two years, and as such, the company’s performance can be a reflection of the league.

In addition to a deal with the NFL itself, ESPN notes the company has deals with 23 individual teams. Papa John’s executives refused to say how much money in projected sales they’ve lost from the NFL and its plummeting ratings. Alas, the company’s stock was down 8.5 percent as of Wednesday.

Despite the company's best try at playing the blame game, Twitter had some other ideas that may, more accurately, explain why Papa John's is suffering. 

Banner/Thumbnail Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons, Ildar Sagdejev

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