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Papa Johns apologizes for national anthem protest comments

23 December 2017

Schnatter triggered fierce criticism by saying the pizza chain's sales were hurt by the NFL's handling of the controversy over players kneeling during the national anthem to protest police violence and racial injustice.

The drop in viewership of the NFL has caused Papa John's to re-evaluate their NFL Sponsorship altogether. Schnatter, who founded the chain, endorsed Trump for president. Schnatter, meanwhile, will remain with the company as Chairman and founder.

"The controversy is polarizing the customer, polarizing the country", Schnatter said during a conference call about the company's earnings on November 1.

The man who built an empire serving mediocre at best pizza (yeah, I said it) is stepping down.

"This should have been nipped in the bud a year and a half ago", Schnatter said on a conference call with investors.

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John Schnatter founded the chain in the 1980s and will stay on as its chairman, but leave the other seat on January 1. The white supremacist website The Daily Stormer even posted an article asking whether Papa John's was the "official pizza of the alt right", forcing the company to say it does not want "hate groups" buying the chain's pizza.

What made this more puzzling was that Papa John's third-quarter sales were pretty much in line during the hard period.

And Schnatter himself has said goodbye to the CEO gig before.

Ritchie told the Wall Street Journal that he was poised to eventually replace Schnatter when he was named company president in 2015. He took a break from being CEO between 2005 and 2008. Schnatter often appears in advertisements during National Football League games, and has credited its close relationship with the National Football League and particularly quarterback Peyton Manning for sales boosts in the past.

Papa Johns apologizes for national anthem protest comments