Papa John's blames National Football League, anthem protests for falling pizza sales

Papa John's Q3 financials show healthy global growth

Papa John's Blames NFL Anthem Protests and Roger Goodell for Bad Sales and Their Stock Is Way Down

Papa John's, the official pizza company of the NFL, is reportedly upset with the league's ongoing player protests during the national anthem, and have made a decision to pull many of its NFL television advertising.

Trump triggered an outcry from players, teams and league officials after referring to any athlete who kneels during "The Star-Spangled Banner" to draw attention to racial injustice as a "son of a bitch" who should be fired.

The CEO, who famously stars in the company's commercials alongside NFL legends like Peyton Manning, also said he thought the national anthem issues had been "nipped in the bud" last season.

"The NFL has hurt us and, more importantly, by not resolving the current debacle to the [players' and owners'] satisfaction, NFL leadership has hurt Papa John's", he said on the call.

Schnatter's criticism stems from the NFL's decision to allow players to protest on the field during the playing of the national anthem before games.

Nevertheless, this is going to embolden the Jerry Jones and Bob McNair anti-protest camp, since regardless of the merits of Papa John's claims it is an on-record impact on the league's bottom line.

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National Football League representatives could not immediately be reached for comment about Schnatter's criticisms.

Papa John's could have a valid argument here. The stock is down 24% this year, while competitors including Domino's have performed well (Domino's stock is up 12% this year).

"The controversy is polarizing the customer, polarizing the country", Schnatter said.

According to Bloomberg, "Papa John's shares fell the most in eight months on Wednesday after third-quarter same-store sales missed analysts' estimates". ESPN also reports that the company has pulled much of its NFL TV advertisements, and that the NFL has responded by offering additional future spots.

Wall Street reacted negatively to Papa John's latest set of results, with stock in the company plunging by almost nine percent on Wednesday. "Like many sponsors, we're in touch with the NFL".

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