Papa John’s is lowering the temperature on its hot pizza take.
The pizza chain’s founder and CEO, John Schnatter, caused a stink two weeks ago when he blamed NFL players’ continued protests during the national anthem for hurting his company’s sales.
Schnatter also called out NFL leadership in what was a pretty bold (and misguided) statement. On Tuesday, however, Papa John’s issued an apology of sorts on Twitter.
“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,” the company said in a statement. “That definitely was not our intention.”
Papa John’s then decided to give its opinion on player protests and standing during the anthem, for some reason:
“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.”
It concluded with a promise to work together with the league — and a random shot at neo-Nazis.
Papa John’s is the official pizza company of the NFL and, according to COO Steve Ritchie, has been the most recognized sponsor associated with the NFL for two years in a row. Schnatter’s anti-NFL remarks didn’t help his cause any, though: Papa John’s stock is down nearly 12 percent since his comments, per ESPN’s Darren Rovell.
Thumbnail photo via Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports Images