Are NFL players’ protests to blame for chicken wing woes?

It seems like people taking a knee has cost a chicken company too many extra wings.

The CEO of Sanderson Farms Inc., one of the largest poultry producers in the U.S., wondered in a conference call this week if the controversy surrounding NFL player protests and their kneeling during the national anthem was the reason why chicken wings sales had slowed, Bloomberg reported.

“It’s just been reported to us that some of our customers think that their traffic is down because of the demonstrations by some of the NFL players,” CEO Joe F. Sanderson Jr., told Bloomberg after the conference call.

Sanderson Farms now joins Papa John’s, which also placed the blame for slumping sales on the NFL, in ripping the league for something bad that’s happening at their own company.

Chicken wings had a great year for much of 2017, according to Bloomberg, as Sanderson Farms made healthy profits and restaurants like Buffalo Wild Wings and Wing Stop continue to reproduce in exponentially higher numbers.

Restaurants apparently couldn’t keep up with the demand, and Sanderson said in August that “there are no wings in the freezers.”

But all of that chicken salad has apparently turned into chicken shit since the NFL season started.

Though Sanderson Farms’ stock price is down, the NFL playoffs will be starting in a few weeks and the Super Bowl, an enormous day for chicken wing consumption, is set for Feb. 4. So, wings will probably start flying off the shelves and down people’s gullets soon enough.

A word of warning to Sanderson Farms, though. When Papa John’s attacked the NFL for its protests—and CEO John Schnatter was much more direct, saying “The NFL has hurt us. We are disappointed the NFL and its leadership did not resolve this …”—the cause was taken up and approved by the alt-right and neo-Nazis.

That led Papa John’s to give them the middle finger on Twitter.

And chicken wings, as we all know, don’t have fingers to tell neo-Nazis to fuck off.

Josh Katzowitz

Josh Katzowitz

Josh Katzowitz is a staff writer at the Daily Dot specializing in YouTube and boxing. His work has appeared in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, and Los Angeles Times. A longtime sports writer, he's covered the NFL for CBSSports.com and boxing for Forbes. His work has been noted twice in the Best American Sports Writing book series.