One of the NFL’s biggest sponsors is not happy with the kneeling protests against the National Anthem or how the league has handled it.
“The NFL has hurt us,” John Schnatter, the founder and CEO of Papa John’s pizza said on a conference call explain his company’s poor earnings on Wednesday, CNBC reported.
“The NFL has been a long and valued partner over the years, but we are certainly disappointed that NFL and its leadership did not resolve the ongoing situation to the satisfaction of all parties,” he said. “This should have been nipped in the bud a year and a half ago.”
Schnatter blamed the league’s declining ratings and negative sentiment among many customers about the NFL protests have led to low sales in the third quarter and an 11 percent fall in its stock value.
“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.
“Leadership starts at the top, and this is an example of poor leadership,” Schnatter said.
His comments were echoed by the company’s COO Steve Ritchie.
“The NFL situation has persisted in the pressure that it’s applying to our sales that has bled into the start of the fourth quarter,” he said. “We expect it to persist unless a solution is put in place.”
Papa John’s has pulled much of its TV ads from the NFL.
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