With its founder John Schnatter still at the helm, Papa John’s has become one of the most popular and widespread pizza chains in America. It’s even an official sponsor of the NFL. And that’s why “Papa John” Schnatter is steaming mad over the league’s handling of the ongoing National Anthem protest.
The protest, started by former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick last year, led to a chilling effect on fans’ interest in the hugely popular sports franchise. But once the protests hugely intensified in late September following comments President Trump made against the protest, the professional football’s popularity slid faster than a stack of pizza boxes left on the freshly waxed roof of a getaway car.
Schnatter, who sometimes features himself in Papa John’s commercials and is not shy about being in the public eye, blasted NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell when talking to his company’s investors on Wednesday, according to CNN.
According to CNBC, Schnatter complained, “The NFL has been a long and valued partner over the years, but we are certainly disappointed that NFL and its leadership did not resolve the ongoing situation to the satisfaction of all parties. This should have been nipped in the bud a year and a half ago."
The CEO believes Goodell’s reluctance to stop the protests and pacify upset fans — many who are now looking for their sports entertainment elsewhere — has not only caused NFL ratings to slump but has taken dough out of Papa John’s as well.
Seeing a drop of 11 percent in the company’s shares and soggy sales in the third quarter, Schnatter said, "The NFL has hurt us and, more importantly, by not resolving the current debacle to the [players' and owners'] satisfaction, NFL leadership has hurt Papa John's. Leadership starts at the top, and this is an example of poor leadership."
"The controversy is polarizing the customer, polarizing the country," he added, according to CNN.
While CNN pointed out that Papa John’s is also hurting from Domino’s improving performance, Instinet analysts agreed that "It indeed appears that National Football League strife may be weighing on same-store sales to some degree, with Papa John's as the NFL's Official Pizza Sponsor bearing some brunt of this issue.”
Schnatter did not appear to specify if he believed Papa John’s sponsorship of the flailing NFL was taking the sizzle out of his pizza sales or if he felt fewer people were eating pizza because they weren’t sitting down in front of the TV to watch NFL games anymore. Whatever the primary cause is, it hasn't been good for the pizza business, no matter which way you slice it.
What do you think of this? Meanwhile, the NYC terror suspect has just made some sickening comments from his hospital bed.