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Papa John’s CEO Steps Down After White Supremacist Groups Endorse Him

Papa John’s CEO, John Schnatter, criticises NFL leadership for allowing national anthem protests to continue. His statements about the effect of protests received heavy backlash, leaving him no choice but to step down.



Papa John’s founder, John Schnatter, has stepped down from his CEO position in his company.

A statement released by the company reveals that, at the beginning of January, Schnatter will no longer be the chief executive officer. His face appears in Papa John’s commercials and on their pizza boxes, but the world will be seeing a whole lot less of Schnatter due to the bad reputation he’s gained.

Papa John’s CEO Steps Down After White Supremacist Groups Endorse Him

A few weeks before his announcement, Schnatter criticized the NFL for the way it handles the continuous national anthem protests. He blames them for the decline in Papa John’s sales. NFL national anthem protests were started by the San Francisco 49ers. Their former quarterback, Colin Kaepernick, kneeled in protest against police mistreatment of black males. The sign of protest is now done by multiple players in several teams. Some U.S. citizens, including president Donald Trump, feel that kneeling during the anthem is a great sign of disrespect while others support the act.

The pizza company is a sponsor and advertiser of the NFL. Schnatter claims that the NFL negatively influenced Papa John’s sales by allowing players to bring politics into the games. “The controversy is polarizing the customer, polarizing the country,” he said during a conference call regarding the company’s earnings. He believes that Papa John’s association with the NFL has now lost him customers who have taken sides on the issue.

Schnatter’s comment backfired bigtime. White supremacists show exceptional support for this statement and have dubbed the pizza company to be the official pizza of the Alt-Right movement. If anything is going to negatively influence sales, it’ll be an association with a racist organization.Schnatter’s growing issue leads him to realize that stepping down from his position as CEO is his best statement he could make at the moment.

The franchise apologizes for their offense, “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 tweeted. Schnatter will remain the largest shareholder of the company as well as its chairman of the board. However, Chief Operating Officer Steve Ritchie will be taking Schnatter’s place as the CEO. It is likely that Schnatter will take back his position once the heat dies down. Back in 2005, he stepped down from the position only to return three years later.