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Papa John's clarifies its stance regarding National Football League, player protests

15 November 2017

Papa John's has apologized for comments its founder and CEO John Schnatter made on an earnings call last month where he blamed the National Football League and player protests for a weak third quarter. "That definitely was not our intention". Since 2010, Papa John's has been the official pizza of the NFL.

"The NFL has hurt us by not resolving the current debacle to the players' and owners' satisfaction", Schnatter said in an earnings call on November 1, via Bloomberg.

In a series of tweets, the company said they believe in the right to protest inequality and support the players' movement to create change.

In response to a Twitter user's wry observation that Papa John's "really needed 2 weeks to come up with a "sorry you were offended" statement", the company replied, "We agree it took too long".

Papa John's late Tuesday chose to tweet a middle-finger emoji aimed at neo-Nazis who are-reportedly-co-opting the chain pizza.

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The comments spurred a backlash on social media, made the company the butt of jokes on late night shows and forced it to distance itself from neo-Nazi groups. Open to ideas from all.

"We posted this today because it became obvious over the last week people didn't understand our position", Papa John's spokesman Peter Collins said Tuesday. Schnatter said Goodell was hurting his company and told investors "NFL leadership has hurt Papa John's shareholders".

Hill also commented on Papa John's apology Tuesday, writing, "This is peak 2017".

The pizza company was swiftly criticized by many for pressuring the league to suppress the player protests, which began as a way to bring attention to police brutality and racial injustice in America.

"Leadership starts at the top and this is an example of poor leadership", Schnatter said.

Papa John's clarifies its stance regarding National Football League, player protests