The 56-year-old founder of the pizza chain came was criticized after remarks he made during the company’s third-quarter earnings call. He said Papa John’s — a National Football League sponsor and advertiser — had been “hurt” by the “take a knee” protest led by African-American players to draw attention to police brutality.
“And more importantly, by not resolving the current debacle to the player and owners’ satisfaction, NFL leadership has hurt Papa John’s shareholders,” Schnatter said. “Leadership starts at the top, and this is an example of poor leadership.”
Seems like food industry has really gotten political. Instead of fanfare, the comments generated a backlash on social media, with some accusing the company of racism. Meanwhile, white supremacists vowed to make Papa John’s the official pizza of the alt-right.
“We condemn racism in all forms and any and all hate groups that support it. … We do not want these individuals or groups to buy our pizza, ” Papa John’s responded.
Schnatter will be replaced on Jan. 1 by the company’s chief operating officer, Steve Ritchie. Schnatter will remain chairman of the board.