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Papa John's apologizes for comments about National Football League player protests
15 November 2017, 10:20 | Anna Jefferson
Papa John's apologizes for "divisive" comments that NFL protests hurt sales
On Tuesday, Papa John's Pizza said in a series of tweets "The statements made on our earnings call were describing the factors that impact our business and we sincerely apologize to anyone that thought they were divisive". Many on Twitter were unimpressed with Papa John's apology, noting that it came too late and that it seemed to stand directly in contrast to what the company's CEO, John Schnatter, had said on the earnings call earlier in November.
Papa John's sought to distance itself from the political far-right movement that has associated itself with the pizza chain, following controversial remarks from CEO John Schnatter, who previously railed against NFL players' national-anthem demonstrations.
Although the controversy surrounding the anthem protests is quickly singled out as a major reason behind the NFL's declining viewership - ratings were down 5% overall through Week 7 compared to the same point past year - network TV viewership is down overall. But we're certainly disappointed that the National Football League and its leadership did not resolve the ongoing situation to the satisfaction of all parties long ago.
The pizza company was swiftly criticized by many for pressuring the league to suppress the player protests, which began as a way to bring attention to police brutality and racial injustice in America. "We also believe, as Americans, we should honor our anthem There should be a way to do both".
Those comments left little doubt that Papa John's position was that the anthem protests were hurting their business, and they held Commissioner Goodell responsible for not dealing with the problem directly from the beginning.
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