Papa John’s Blames the NFL for Hurting Pizza Sales

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Papa John’s International Inc. founder John Schnatter is going after NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, saying weak handling of the league’s national-anthem controversy has hammered sales of his pizza.

“The NFL has hurt us by not resolving the current debacle to the players’ and owners’ satisfaction,” Schnatter, who serves as the pizza chain’s chairman and chief executive officer, said on a conference call. “NFL leadership has hurt Papa John’s shareholders.”

The remarks follow a controversy over NFL football players protesting during the national anthem, a movement that started last season. The demonstrations have sparked calls for a boycott and raised concerns among league sponsors. But Schnatter’s comments mark the highest-profile example of an NFL partner publicly blaming the outcry for hurting business.

Goodell, whose contract is up for renewal, has taken flak for not resolving the controversy more quickly. The flap has even drawn tweets from President Donald Trump, who called for owners to fire or bench players who refuse to stand during “The Star-Spangled Banner.”  More…