Papa John’s blames kneeling NFL players for slumping sales

John Schnatter
FILE - In this Monday, Oct. 24, 2011, file photo, Papa John's Founder, Chairman, and CEO John Schnatter's 1971 Chevy Camaro is shown at the Papa John's 3000th North American Store Celebration in Burbank, Ill. Officials say the Camaro is among three vehicles stolen during a Detroit-area event showcasing classic cars on Sunday, Aug. 16, 2015. (Ross Dettman/AP Images for Papa John's, File)

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WCMH) — The owner of pizza chain Papa Johns is blaming kneeling players in the NFL for lackluster sales.

According to CNBC, John Schnatter, founder and CEO of Papa John’s said the league not resolving the issue of players kneeling during the national anthem, have hurt his company and its sales.

“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,” Schnatter said during an earnings call Wednesday. “This should have been nipped in the bud a year and a half ago.”

Papa John’s has been listed as the official pizza of the NFL since 2010, and the company states that a decline in viewership and negative consumer sentiments led to the sales slump.

“The NFL has hurt us and, more importantly, by not resolving the current debacle to the player and owner’s satisfaction, NFL leadership has hurt’s Papa John’s,” Schnatter told CNBC.