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Papa John’s blames NFL for spiraling pizza sales—but maybe the pizza just sucks

'Papa John's tastes like a U-Haul seat cushion.'


Kris Seavers

Internet Culture

Published Nov 1, 2017   Updated May 22, 2021, 12:30 pm CDT

Papa John’s founder John Schnatter on Wednesday blamed the NFL’s handling of the national anthem controversy for the company’s spiraling pizza sales.

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“The NFL has hurt us,” Schnatter said on a conference call. “We are disappointed the NFL and its leadership did not resolve this… Leadership starts at the top, and this is an example of poor leadership.”

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NFL ratings have been down this year following the decision of some athletes to kneel during the national anthem. The protests against racial inequality and police brutality began last year with Colin Kaepernick, and were revived again in recent months when President Donald Trump criticized players.

Papa John’s has been the NFL’s official pizza sponsor since 2010. The pizza maker’s sales sank more than 11 percent in the third quarter.

After Schnatter’s remarks, people on Twitter put Papa John’s pizza on blast.

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Schnatter, who donated to Trump’s campaign, said the anthem controversy “should have been nipped in the bud” by now.

“Once the issue is resolved, we’re optimistic the NFL’s best years are ahead,” he said.


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*First Published: Nov 1, 2017, 5:58 pm CDT