John Schnatter stepping down as Papa John's CEO


Papa John’s founder John Schnatter is stepping down from his role as the pizza company’s CEO weeks after criticizing the NFL for its handling of the national anthem protests.

>> Read more trending news

Schnatter had blamed slow pizza sales on the national anthem protests by NFL players, saying in a Nov. 1 earnings call that “NFL leadership has hurt Papa John’s shareholders” and that the protests “should have been nipped in the bud a year and a half ago.”

His comments cost him $70 million in one day, according to multiple reports. He eventually apologized.

Papa John’s Chief Operating Officer Steve Ritchie, who will take over for Schnatter, declined to say if the November comments led to the move announced Thursday. Schnatter will still serve as chairman of the board for the company.

>> Related: Papa John's CEO apologizes for comments on NFL anthem protest controversy

Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones came to Schnatter’s defense, calling him “one of the great Americans” in this country, NBC Sports reported. Jones is a joint owner of 120 Papa John’s restaurants.

Advertisers have threatened to pull their advertising from the NFL in the wake of the politically charged national anthem protests, but none have taken as drastic a move as Papa John’s.

The company last month apologized for Schnatter’s comments in a statement, saying, “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. That definitely was not our intention.”

Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick first started kneeling during “The Star-Spangled Banner” last year to protest police violence against minorities. The protest got mixed reactions, but other NFL players -- and players in other sports -- have since followed Kaepernick’s lead to protest inequality.

President Donald Trump in September suggested that NFL team owners should fire players who refuse to stand during the anthem, telling a crowd in Alabama that “that’s a total disrespect for our heritage.”

The Cox Media Group National Content Desk contributed to this report.


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Nation World

Day care provider gets probation for trying to hang toddler, running over 2 men
Day care provider gets probation for trying to hang toddler, running over 2 men

A Minnesota home day care worker has been sentenced to 10 years of probation for trying to hang a toddler and running over two men. According to KARE, Nataliia Karia of Minneapolis was arrested in November 2016 after authorities said she hanged a toddler in her care from a homemade noose in her basement. Karia fled after Joseph Sabir, the father of...
Man suspected of nearly beating girlfriend's daughter to death
Man suspected of nearly beating girlfriend's daughter to death

Police in Memphis, Tennessee, arrested a man after investigators said his girlfriend's child suffered life-threatening injuries while under his care.  According to the arrest affidavit, the suspect, Latarius Curry, was alone with the victim and two other children when he called his girlfriend.  He reportedly told the victim's mother...
Sunshine, warm temperatures return for the day
Sunshine, warm temperatures return for the day

Warm but not muggy Dry time this week Showers and storms by weekend  TODAY: A nice morning with it being muggy early, but becoming more comfortable through the afternoon. It’ll be warmer than normal again with highs in the mid to upper 80s. Overall dry day with sunshine and some afternoon clouds.  WEDNESDAY: Another beautiful day...
Texas woman accused of biting off, swallowing part of victim's nose
Texas woman accused of biting off, swallowing part of victim's nose

A Texas woman was arrested and charged with assault after police say she bit off and swallowed part of another woman's nose. According to KTRK, the victim, identified only as "Tatiana," said the incident happened last week after she, her neighbor and the neighbor's guest came back to Tatiana's home after a night out. When the neighbor's guest...
Bartender's heartwarming act of kindness for homeless man goes viral
Bartender's heartwarming act of kindness for homeless man goes viral

A Tennessee bartender's generous act has gone viral. >> Need something to lift your spirits? Read more uplifting news  According to a Facebook post by Dawn Wilt, an unidentified homeless man recently walked into Huey's, a popular Memphis restaurant, with only $2. >> Read more trending news  He asked the bartender...
More Stories