Papa John's Apologizes For 'Divisive' Comments About the NFL National Anthem Protests

The pizza chain is asking for forgiveness following their CEO's controversial comments.

Papa John's pizza restaurant in Moscow
Photo: Sergei BobylevTASS/Getty

Papa John’s is serving up apologies after their recent controversy.

Two weeks after CEO John Schnatter blamed the NFL leadership’s handling of the ongoing national anthem protests for its lagging sales, the popular pizza chain took to twitter to backtrack those comments.

The company, which is an official sponsor of the NFL, reversed its position in a three-part public statement, now claiming they support the “players’ movement.” “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. That definitely was not our intention,” they wrote on Twitter.

“We believe in the right to protest inequality and support the players’ movement to create a new platform for change. We also believe together, as Americans, we should honor our anthem. There is a way to do both,” the company said.

Schnatter previously criticized the league’s leadership for allowing the anthem protests to continue. “The NFL has hurt us,” he said. “We are disappointed the NFL and its leadership did not resolve this.”

After complaining of their self-reported sales slump, frozen pizza brand DiGiorno took to Twitter to roast Papa John’s.

WATCH: Queen Latifah ‘Offended’ Over Trump’s Handling of NFL Anthem Controversy

Want the ultimate dish on the latest celebrity food news, plus exclusive recipes, videos and more? Click here to subscribe to the People Food newsletter.

As for why the company waited to release a statement, Papa John’s spokesman Peter Collins said on Tuesday: “We posted this today because it became obvious over the last week people didn’t understand our position. We should have followed our gut from the beginning, but followed advice not to speak up — it’s time we are clear.”

Related Articles