Papa John’s partnership with the NFL has largely been lucrative for the company, but CEO John Schnatter says recent national anthem protests have turned that trend on its head.
The pizza giant has seen its shares shrink by 10 percent, as the NFL’s inability to quell player protests discourages investors who are seeing the league’s pro-America crowd tuning out.
John Schnatter, the founder and CEO of Papa John’s, said the league and its leadership “hurt” the company by not resolving the player protests that have been taking place during the National Anthem.
“The NFL has been a long and valued partner over the years but we are certainly disappointed that NFL and its leadership did not resolve the ongoing situation to the satisfaction of all parties,” Schnatter said during an earnings call Wednesday. “This should have been nipped in the bud a year and a half ago.”
Papa John’s, which has been the official pizza of the NFL since 2010, said that the combination of declining NFL viewership and negative consumer sentiment associated with the league caused sales in the third quarter to slump.
Shares of the pizza chain fell nearly 10 percent on Wednesday.
“The NFL has hurt us and, more importantly, by not resolving the current debacle to the player and owner’s satisfaction, NFL leadership has hurt’s Papa John’s,” Schnatter said.
“Leadership starts at the top, and this is an example of poor leadership,” he said.
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