A Pizza Chain Is Under Fire For Taking A Stand On The NFL Anthem Protest

Papa John’s pizza founder and CEO, John Schnatter, beat Wall Street’s numbers for the quarter but is getting raked over hot coals for something else.

On Tuesday the third most popular pizza chain released its third-quarter financial report beating estimates on earnings and revenue.

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The problem is that he announced the pizza chain is lowering guidance for the coming period on same-store sales.  And the reason for the downturn? He believes reduced expected sales is due to the weak handling by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell of the league’s national-anthem controversy.

“The NFL has hurt us by not resolving the current debacle to the players’ and owners’ satisfaction,” Schnatter said on a conference call. “NFL leadership has hurt Papa John’s shareholders.”

Investors were not pleased with the lowered sales news and sent shares down 11% through 12:30 pm Eastern Time on Wednesday. The stock is now trading at just over $60 per share.

The net worth of Schnatter fell $70 million in less than 24 hours.  The 55-year-old—who owns roughly 25% of Papa John’s—is now worth $801 million, Forbes estimates.

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And then the pushback on social media began, some calling Papa John’s a racist company while others attacked the pizza itself.

Back in 2014, when Papa John’s posted a nearly 10 percent gain in North American same-store sales, the company credited its close relationship with the NFL and Peyton Manning for driving its business in the U.S.

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