Papa John’s CEO Rips NFL ‘Leadership’ Over Anthem Protests in Quarterly Conference Call

AP Elaine Thompson Bennett
AP Photo/Elaine Thompson

Papa John’s became the first major NFL sponsor to publicly call the NFL out over their reaction to the anthem protest, and the the fact that those protests have hurt their sales.

Now we can share the exact, stern words of Papa John’s CEO and what he thinks of  the NFL’s “poor leadership.”

During a quarterly conference call, Papa John’s CEO John Schnatter echoed the lament of many fans over the past year. Saying that the protests should have been “nipped in the bud,” when they began.

“The NFL has hurt us,” Schnatter said. “We are disappointed the NFL and its leadership did not resolve this.”

Schnatter continued, “Leadership starts at the top and this is an example of poor leadership.”

The anthem protests began in the preseason of 2016, when Colin Kaepernick, a quarterback for the 49ers at the time, began sitting and then kneeling during the national anthem. After the end of the 2016 season, Kaepernick walked away from a $14 million deal in San Francisco.

The fact that Kaepernick remains unemployed has become a major point of contention, and, in the view of NFL players, a cause for continuing the protests Kaepernick began.

According to Sports Illustrated, Papa John’s “…stock price has dipped more than 5% since the beginning of the NFL season.”


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