Papa John's founder steps down after blaming anthem protests for slumping sales

Papa John's founder steps down after blaming anthem protests for slumping sales

Papa John's founder steps down after blaming anthem protests for slumping sales

"I am so proud of Steve - he has excelled at every job he's ever held at Papa John's - from being an hourly customer service rep, to a delivery driver, store general manager, director of operations, franchisee and most recently President", said Papa John's founder, John Schnatter, in a statement. Business Insider reports Schnatter, who owns about 25% of Papa John's, previously left his position in 2005 amid declining sales only to come back three years later.

"The NFL has hurt us by not resolving the current debacle to the players' and owners' satisfaction", Schnatter said on a conference call Nov.1.

Weeks later, after neo-Nazi website The Daily Stormer declared Papa John's "the official pizza of the alt-right", the company issued a statement asking members of hate groups to not buy its pizza.

Ritchie would not say if Schnatter's National Football League comments played a role in the job change.

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.


Schnatter has now decided he would step down as CEO of Papa John's, effective immediately.

He said the practice of players kneeling during the anthem to raise awareness of police brutality and social injustice hurt the NFL's TV ratings, which in turn hurt sales of his pizza, which is advertised heavily during games. But the comments and negative sentiment sent shares dropping by as much as 13 percent the day the news broke.

This is not the first time that Schnatter has stepped down as CEO.

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

The backlash was swift, with many promising to boycott Papa John's in response to Schnatter's comments.

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