The debate surrounding the NFL protests has taken a truly bizarre turn as “Papa” John Schnatter has entered the fray, blaming the demonstrations for his company’s sagging pizza sales.
The Papa John’s founder, and pepperoncini enthusiast, said as much during a conference call with investors on Wednesday.
“The NFL has hurt Papa John’s shareholders,” he said. “The controversy is polarizing the customer, polarizing the country.”
Schnatter lashed out at NFL executives for allowing the protests to continue, citing their actions as “an example of poor leadership.”
Papa John’s president and chief operating officer Steve Ritchie agreed with his boss regarding the cause of the decline, telling investors “we expect it to persist unless a solution is put in place.”
The company pulled many ads from NFL games this season, citing the ongoing protests as a reason, though they still remain a prominent sponsor of not only the league, but also of 23 individual teams.
NFL ratings are down 5 percent from this time last year, but so is the rest of network television. Papa John’s stock, however, is down 24 percent for the year, while rival Domino’s is up 12 percent, suggesting that NFL players protesting institutional racism may be the least of their problems. Maybe people are just sick of garlic dipping sauce.
Folks on Twitter were quick to pile on Schnatter and his line of reasoning for the decline in sales.
Papa Johns, you blaming your decline in sales on players kneeling is absolutely ridiculous. Let's talk about your mediocre pizza ?
— Adriana (@Holaaddi) November 1, 2017
Papa Johns is blaming their pizza sales decline on black NFL players kneeling. What a time to be alive. ??♂️
— Devin Walker (@Devin_Walker5) November 1, 2017
Papa Johns should worry a little less bout the anthem and more about making a decent pizza ??♂️
— J (@Jferrie23) November 1, 2017
Papa Johns biggest business problem is their pizza is absolutely disgusting
— Tommy Alter (@talter) November 1, 2017
Papa Johns puts tomato soup on cardboard and threw Peyton Manning’s long head ass on a commercial and blaming black players lmaoooooo
— Chiefs 6-? (@tattedykdub) November 1, 2017
Papa Johns CEO: “Leadership starts at the top & this is example of poor leadership.”
In other words: Don’t let the inmates run the prison.
— First Words (@unscriptedmike) November 1, 2017
Peyton Manning, JJ Watt, and Joe Montana are the only ppl affiliated with both the NFL and Papa Johns. 2 are retired 1 is out for the season https://t.co/9GcjUe8tc8
— Q ?? (@lilQtheGOAT) November 1, 2017
CEO Schnatter has long been tied to conservative causes, having famously opposed the implementation of Obamacare, claiming that the health care bill would force the company to raise prices and reduce workers’ hours. Later, he accused the media of misconstruing his remarks, saying that he was “cool with” people getting health care.
[image via screengrab]
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