Papa Johns apologizes for national anthem protest comments

23 December, 2017, 02:00 | Author: Grady King
  • Weeks After Criticizing NFL Protests, Papa John's Founder Will Step Down As CEO

The CEO of Papa John's pizza John Schnatter was replaced as CEO on Thursday, almost two months after making controversial comments that NFL players kneeling during the National Anthem were hurting the chain's bottom line.

Now Papa John's may decide to find a new pitchman besides Schnatter.

Papa John's, which lays claim to being the nation's third-largest pizza chain, could not be reached immediately for comment.

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As the founder, Schnatter has been one of the biggest names in fast food.

"The controversy is polarizing the customer, polarizing the country", Schnatter said during a conference call about the company's earnings on November 1.

Schnatter owns roughly 25% of Papa John's, and will stay on as chairman after stepping down as CEO in January.

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A blog post on the racist website the Daily Stormer proclaimed the company the "official pizza of the alt-right".

"Leadership starts at the top and this is an example of poor leadership", Schnatter said, noting he thought the issue had been "nipped in the bud" a year and a half ago. He also dished out some criticism to Roger Goodell for not handling it, because it was hurting their sales.

In his 2017 book "Papa: The Story of Papa John's Pizza", Schnatter argued that regulations are steering the U.S. away from the system of free enterprise he believes is crucial to the nation's success. The company generates approximately $1.4 billion in revenue per year. Schnatter announced his decision when the market closed. He stepped down in 2005, but returned in 2008. The company will promote longtime employee and former president Steve Ritchie to the position of CEO. In 2010, he took on a co-CEO, Jude Thompson, but that arrangement ended the following year.

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