Papa John’s: We did not imply to be ‘divisive’ on NFL protests


Papa John’s is attempting to restore the injury attributable to its CEO’s controversial feedback in regards to the NFL protests.

Two weeks in the past, CEO John Schnatter triggered fierce criticism by saying the pizza chain’s gross sales have been harm by the NFL’s dealing with of the controversy over gamers kneeling in the course of the Nationwide Anthem to protest police violence and racial injustice.

“This could have been nipped within the bud a yr and a half in the past,” Schnatter said on a convention name with traders. “The controversy is polarizing the shopper, polarizing the nation.”

Related: Papa John’s says NFL protests are hurting sales

The feedback spurred a backlash on social media, made the corporate the butt of jokes on late night time exhibits and compelled it to distance itself from neo-Nazi teams.

On Tuesday night, Papa John’s (PZZA) — which has been a league sponsor since 2010 — tried an apology on Twitter.

“The statements made on our earnings name have been describing the elements that impression our enterprise and we sincerely apologize to anybody that thought they have been divisive,” it mentioned. “That positively was not our intention.”

The pizza chain mentioned that it helps “the gamers’ motion to create a brand new platform for change” however that it additionally believes that “as People, we must always honor our anthem.”

“We are going to work with the gamers and league to discover a constructive approach ahead. Open to concepts from all. Besides neo-nazis,” the corporate tweeted, providing a “center finger” emoji to “these guys.”

Final yr, then-49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick took a knee in the course of the efficiency of the anthem to protest the therapy of black People, significantly by police.

The protest has grown within the NFL this season with extra gamers participating. It is controversial as a result of some individuals see the act of kneeling as disrespectful of the flag.

Related: Colin Kaepernick is GQ’s ‘Citizen of the Year’

NFL guidelines say gamers “ought to” stand for the anthem. Whereas it is not required, Commissioner Roger Goodell has made it clear he desires gamers to face.

The protests have additionally drawn criticism from President Trump, who tweeted that kneeling gamers ought to be fired.

On the earnings name two weeks in the past, Schnatter blamed Goodell for the protest “debacle.”

“Management begins on the high, and that is an instance of poor management,” Schnatter mentioned. “The NFL has harm Papa John’s shareholders.”

Related: NFL owners weigh contract extension for Roger Goodell

Regardless of the pizza chain’s efforts Tuesday to deal with the criticism over these remarks, some social media customers weren’t satisfied.

“Is that this imagined to be Woke Papa John’s Pizza?” tweeted @danibostick. “I am confused, as a result of your CEO positively blamed the NFL protests for poor gross sales and criticized the NFL’s management for not squelching the protests sooner. I do not see an apology for that.”

Others disputed the concept the protesting gamers would need to work with the corporate.

Papa John’s replied to a number of the responses, acknowledging that it “ought to have acted sooner” following Schnatter’s feedback.

The NFL could not instantly be reached for remark late Tuesday.

— Nathaniel Meyersohn contributed to this report

CNNMoney (New York) First revealed November 15, 2017: 12:27 AM ET





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