Per a report from ESPN, Papa John's CEO John Schnatter during a conference call that the NFL is to blame for their slipping numbers.
“The NFL has hurt us,” Schnatter said. “We are disappointed the NFL and its leadership did not resolve this.”
Papa John's CEO John Schnatter
There is little doubt that Schnatter was referring to a series of National Anthem protests that have spread all across the NFL TV ratings for the NFL have been slipping all season. Many fans have decided to boycott the games due to the players taking such a strong stance against the anthem.
Since Papa John's is the official pizza of the NFL, Schnatter says the league is bringing down the sales of pizza along with it.
“Leadership starts at the top, and this is an example of poor leadership,” Schnatter said.
He's most likely referring to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. In recent weeks he has been criticized for sending mixed signals with regard to the anthem protests. He has refused to take a hardline stance when it comes to the protests. On top of that his wife was caught defending him on Twitter with a burner account.
Papa John's COO Steve Richie backs Schnatter. While on the call he told listeners “the NFL deal was the primary suspect behind the decline and that ‘we expect it to persist unless a solution is put in place.'”
It's pretty cut and dry what the message is. Papa John's is pretty unhappy with the NFL and its leadership. If the numbers continue to trend downward, Papa John's will take action. It's hard to say how much pizza sales and NFL viewership actually relate to one another, but there will probably be more companies complaining about this issue.