On Wednesday, Papa John’s shocked the country when they announced they will no longer sponsor the NFL after the recent problems plaguing the league. The whole problem started last year when Colin Kaepernick took a knee during the national anthem for the first time. Since that day, more players have followed in his footsteps and have protested on their own. Every team in the NFL has protested in one form or another and it is seriously hurting their ticket sales and ratings. As a result, sponsors have been pulling out in fear of being blacklisted by Americans.
One of the NFL’s biggest sponsors shocked everyone when they pulled the plug on their big NFL deal. Papa John’s has been a staple in the sports world for years and it was almost impossible not to see an ad run during every football game of the season. That will no longer be the case and Papa John’s CEO had some scathing remarks for the NFL about their recent behavior.
Papa John’s pizza had a pretty colorful earnings call today.
According to ESPN, Papa John’s CEO John Schnatter said during a conference call that the NFL was to blame for their slipping sales.
“The NFL has hurt us,” Schnatter said. “We are disappointed the NFL and its leadership did not resolve this.”
Schnatter was likely referring to the recent rash of National Anthem protests that’s swept through the National Football League and has left many franchises divided. Viewership has been in something of a free fall all season, as many fans have decided to boycott the increasingly political sport.
And since Papa Johns is the official pizza company of the NFL, Schnatter says the league is bringing pizza down with it.
“Leadership starts at the top, and this is an example of poor leadership,” Schnatter said.
Again, he’s likely referring to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, who has come under fire in the recent weeks for sending mixed signals regarding the anthem protests and not taking a hard stance on unruly players. Amid all of this, his wife got caught defending him against all the Internet trolls with a Twitter burner account, which is definitely not a great look for the Commish.
Papa John’s President and COO Steve Ritchie backed Schnatter up, telling listeners on the call that “the NFL deal was the primary suspect behind the decline and that ‘we expect it to persist unless a solution is put in place.’”
I think the message is pretty loud and clear here. Papa John’s is not happy with the NFL or its commissioner. And if their sales continue to decline, they’re probably not gonna go down without a fight. It’s unclear at the moment how much pizza sales actually correlate to NFL viewership, but if I had to guess I’d say Papa John’s won’t be the last company to complain about this growing issue.
The NFL is facing a crisis and if they don’t make some changes soon, they will lose more fans and sponsors. What about you, have you stopped watching the games? Sound off in the comments below.
H/T Daily Caller