Papa John’s Pizza, the third largest take-out and pizza delivery chain in the United States, has been the subject of a major controversy in recent days following the comments of CEO John Schnatter, who took a shot at the NFL. Following the ongoing national anthem protesting controversy that began with former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick in 2016, Schnatter insinuated that the NFL is responsible for the pizza company’s decrease in sales.
Schnatter stated, “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 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 CEO continued. "The controversy is polarizing the customer, polarizing the country.”
After Schnatter became the laughing stock of a portion of the nation, several other major pizza companies including DiGiorno, Pizza Hut, and Ledo Pizza slammed Papa John's.
DiGiorno posted several tweets that went viral, bashing Papa John’s in response to the CEO’s controversial remarks. First, the frozen pizza company posted an “us vs. them” statement, showing “us” with an increasing sales chart and “them [Papa John’s]” with a decreasing sales chart.
Papa John’s, one of the official sponsors of the NFL who clearly does not agree with the NFL’s decision to allow players to protest during the “Star Spangled Banner,” has the infamous motto, “Better ingredients. Better pizza.” Later, DiGiorno also mocked their motto by posting, “Better pizza. Better sales” to their Twitter account.
Papa John’s, of course, eventually shot back. If this pizza Twitter war was going on outside the screen, it’s easy to imagine an epic food fight—cheese and pepperoni being chaotically thrown everywhere. According to Delish, Papa John’s briefly updated their Twitter bio to "Frozen pizza = the equivalent of a participation trophy." However, it was later deleted and changed to “Better ingredients. Better pizza. Better tweets.”
Ledo Pizza also took to Twitter with similar attacks, implying multiple times that Papa John's is not even "real pizza." In one post, the pizza chain even offered to be the NFL's new pizza sponsor.
Pizza Hut's CEO was also in agreement with DiGiorno and Ledo Pizza, ensuring that their sales have not declined as a result of the NFL, according to Business Insider. Papa John's has not yet responded to Pizza Hut's and Ledo's bashing remarks.
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