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Papa John's Blames NFL Protests for Declining Sales

Papa John’s CEO, John Schnatter recently blamed their decline in sales during Tuesday’s third quarter earnings on the NFL protesting. Papa John’s released its quarterly report, that did in fact show its lowest stock value in eight months. The CEO blasted the NFL for its poor leadership, saying,

"We are totally disappointed that the NFL and its leadership did not resolve the ongoing situation to the satisfaction of all parties long ago. This should have been nipped in the bud a year and a half ago."

Not even 24 hours after Schnatter’s statement, his net worth dropped by $70 million, Forbes reported. Later, other companies made opposing statements about their sales. Yum Brands CEO Greg Creed, who owns Pizza Hut said, “We’re not seeing any impact from any of that on our business.” Digiorno Pizza even found the time to pick on Papa John’s in their time of vulnerability by tweeting “Better Pizza Better Sales,” referring to Papa John’s catch phrase. They continued the jokes with an image comparing “Us” with an image of stocks rising and “Them” with one of stocks dropping. Papa John’s didn’t find Digiorno’s tweets funny and responded by briefly changing their twitter bio to “Frozen pizza = the pizza equivalent of a participation trophy.”

Schnatter owns roughly 25% of Papa John's, so when the company suffers, he is directly affected. However, his blame on NFL protesting seem to be unrelated to his lack of sales, but more related to his political beliefs. This isn’t the first time Schnatter has voiced his political opinions. In 2012, Schnatter argued that Obamacare would cost Papa John's $5-8 million annually and ultimately drive up the price of pizza. Papa John’s shares dropped about 4.2% during this controversy. Sources say Schnatter’s most recent shots are probably towards Jerry Jones, Cowboys Owner, who also owns 100 Papa John’s franchises in Texas. Hopefully after this controversy and net worth drop of $70 million, Schnatter will learn to keep politics out of pizza.

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