Papa John’s CEO, John Schnatty, placed blame  of sagging sales of their pizzas and other offerings squarely on the National Football League’s shoulders. The NFL has seen protests during the playing of the U.S. national anthem escalate since last year, and viewership is down 5%.
Papa John’s is a sponsor of the NFL and Schnatty said the following about the NFL not handling the protests appropriately:
“Leadership starts at the top, and this is an example of poor leadership,” Schnatter said on a conference call with investors Wednesday. “The NFL has hurt Papa John’s shareholders.”
“This should have been nipped in the bud a year and a half ago,” Schnatter said. “The controversy is polarizing the customer, polarizing the country.”
Papa John’s have withdrawn some of their planned ad buys, and in exchange, the NFL will give them future ad slots as a good gesture to a national sponsor.