National pizza chain Papa John’s, a major sponsor of the National Football League, announced a sharp decline in its quarterly revenue this week, saying weeks of professional athletes protesting the national anthem has seriously injured the company’s bottom line.
“Leadership starts at the top, and this is an example of poor leadership,” said Papa John’s CEO and founder John Schnatter. “The NFL has hurt Papa John’s shareholders.”
“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,” he added.
According to CNBC, sales figures for the national pizza restaurant are down more than 10%.
Schnatter’s complaints come as the NFL enters the second month of its players protesting the ‘Star-Spangled Banner,’ prompting furious fans to change the channel or stay home during the game. As a result, ratings for the NFL are down double-digits from the same time just two years ago.
The NFL has been struggling to regain its footing following weeks of players choosing to “take a knee” during the performance of the US national anthem.
The ensuing controversy gained national attention when President Trump called for a total boycott of the NFL until officials and owners require players to stand during the ‘Star-Spangled Banner.’