How disappointing. Papa Johns Pizza caves to pressure, chickens out of NFL stand

Papa John’s Pizza  backtracked on its stand and issued an apology for being “divisive” with its recent comments about the NFL, but that message wasn’t for everybody.

The pizza company earlier this month inserted itself into the political debate over protesting players who would not stand during the national anthem as CEO John Schnatter blamed the National Football League for Papa John’s declining sales.

Rob Kim/Getty Images

“The NFL has hurt us,” Schnatter had said, criticizing the way NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has handled the issue with players. “This should have been nipped in the bud a year and a half ago.”

As an advertising sponsor of the NFL and individual teams, Papa John’s claimed its slump in sales was due in large part to the backlash against the NFL as it faces declining ratings and lower ticket sales in the wake of protests that were sparked last year after San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick took a knee during the national anthem and inspired other players to do the same.

Far-right groups, who viewed the NFL protests as part of an “anti-white agenda,” cheered on the pizza company’s sentiment declaring Papa John’s the “official pizza of the alt right.”

But Papa John’s quickly sought to distance itself from the political far-right movement, condemning “racism in all forms and any and all hate groups that support it.”

Issuing several tweets on Tuesday, the company tried to clear the air and apologize to anyone offended. Anyone, that is, except neo-Nazis, who received a different kind of message.

Not surprisingly, the apology was not a welcome response as many called the company out for backing down after taking a vocal stand. It seems Papa John’s made things worse for itself as angry Twitter users reminded them to “stick to selling pizzas.”

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