Papa John's Apologizes for Blaming Poor Sales on NFL Player Protests

Papa John's Apologizes for Blaming Poor Sales on NFL Player Protests

The Papa John's pizza chain apologized Tuesday for comments made by CEO John Schnatter, who had blamed the NFL and protesting players for its sales struggles during football season.

The pizza delivery chain noted in a series of tweets that it merely described "factors" instrumental in the earnings dip, declaring that "we sincerely apologize to anyone that thought they were divisive".

The pizza company, which is the official pizza company of the National Football League, tweeted that it was not their intention to make "divisive" comments.

Although the controversy surrounding the anthem protests is quickly singled out as a major reason behind the NFL's declining viewership - ratings were down 5% overall through Week 7 compared to the same point a year ago - network TV viewership is down overall.

"The NFL has hurt us", the pizza powerhouse's pitchman John Schnatter explained two weeks ago. Schnatter said Goodell was hurting his company and told investors "NFL leadership has hurt Papa John's shareholders".

Vikings leap back into top-10 of USA TODAY power rankings
The Vikings' gumption might be their greatest constant, in a season with more unrest than their record would suggest. "This time around we just want to show that we're a different team", said Diggs, who had four catches for 78 yards.

Papa John's statement on Twitter comes amid a sales slump for the pizza chain. The tweet goes on to say that Americans should honor the anthem and that there is a way to do both. It got worse for Schnatter when the far-right website The Daily Stormer declared Papa John's to be "the official pizza" of the alt-right.

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

Like many sponsors, we are in contact with the National Football League and once the issue is resolved between the players and the owners, we are optimistic that the NFL's best years are ahead. "Except neo-nazis", the company tweeted, offering a "middle finger" emoji to "those guys".

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

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