NFL sponsor Papa John's apologized Tuesday, two weeks after its founder and CEO, John Schnatter, questioned league leadership for its handling of player protests during the national anthem. "That was definitely not our intention", Papa John's tweeted.
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 past year - network TV viewership is down overall. But we're certainly disappointed that the National Football League and its leadership did not resolve the ongoing situation to the satisfaction of all parties long ago.
"This should have been nipped in the bud a year and a half ago", Schnatter said.
In a series of tweets, the company said they believe in the right to protest inequality and support the players' movement to create change.
Papa John's CEO John Schnatter (middle), pictured with Archie Manning (left) and J.J. "Except neo-nazis - [middle-finger emoji] those guys". "NFL leadership has hurt Papa John's shareholders". Open to ideas from all.
Papa John's profits fell short of third-quarter estimates, and its stock fell to a three-month low early in November.
This time it's Papa John's, which apologized to customers via Twitter for being "divisive" with its comments about the NFL.
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.
Several prominent figures criticized Schnatter for his initial insensitive comments, insinuating that pizza sales are more important than taking a stand against racism and police brutality - the reasons behind the majority of players protesting during the anthem. Without specifying the controversy to which he was referring, Schnatter said that it was hurting the NFL's TV ratings and thus sales of his product, which is advertised heavily during games.
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