Pizza giant Papa John’s publicly apologized to the National Football League on Tuesday, saying their CEO and founder John Schnatter was out of line when he lashed-out at the NFL over player protests earlier this month, reports ABC News.
The Kentucky-based pizza chain made national headlines after Schnatter told shareholders during a conference call that professional athletes choosing to “take a knee” during the US national anthem was hurting the company’s bottom line, citing the bad press as the main reason behind a 10% drop in sales.
“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,” said a statement. “That definitely was not our intention.
“We believe in the right to protest inequality and support the players’ movement to create a new platform for change. We also believe, as Americans, we should honor our anthem. There is a way to do both,” it added.
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.’