Papa John's apologizes for "divisive" comments that National Football League protests hurt sales


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.

The pizza chain used its Twitter page Tuesday to apologize to anyone who thought talk stemming from the company's quarterly conference call almost two weeks ago was meant to be divisive.

"Is this supposed to be Woke Papa John's Pizza?" tweeted @danibostick.

Papa John's added that they support the players' right to protest inequality, and that they believe there is a way to "create a new platform for change" and "honor our anthem" at the same time. There is a way to do both.

"The NFL has hurt us by not resolving the current debacle to the players' and owners' satisfaction", Schnatter said in an earnings call on November 1, via Bloomberg. Open to ideas from all. "Except neo-nazis - [middle-finger emoji] those guys".

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Papa John's is one of the biggest National Football League sponsors.

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.

"The NFL has hurt us", he said earlier this month, per Darren Rovell of ESPN.

Schnatter's original comments turned his company into an emblem of the political and cultural divide in the United States, with some people advocating boycotts of Papa John's and others praising his stance. When you acknowledge that the kneeling protests ONE thing only, specifically police brutality against minorities and that the protests do not disrespect either the military nor our flag, THEN I MIGHT consider eating your s***ty pizza again. Yeah, well, that's back, sort of, as the pizza chain issued a tepid apology on Tuesday - about two weeks after the fact - and in doing so took a swipe at neo-Nazis.