Having unleashed on NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell during the Papa John's earnings call this morning...
“The NFL has hurt us by not resolving the current debacle to the players’ and owners’ satisfaction,” Schnatter, who serves as the pizza chain’s chairman and chief executive officer, said on a conference call. “NFL leadership has hurt Papa John’s shareholders.”
“Leadership starts at the top, and this is an example of poor leadership,” Schnatter said.
“This should have been nipped in the bud a year and a half ago,” Schnatter said on the call.
He concluded that “like many sponsors, we’re in touch with the NFL. Once the issue is resolved, we’re optimistic the NFL’s best years are ahead.”
It appears Papa John's founder John Schnatter was serious about that last line... as ESPN's Darren Rovell reports that "Papa John’s says it has been pulling advertising associated with the NFL."
While the last few sponsors/advertisers to pull their money from The NFL (here and here) were shrugged off by some, the decision by the major pizza chain - which is a mainstay of almost every commercial break as far as we can remember - will perhaps shock a few more owners.
Papa John's is deeply rooted in the NFL since it has a deal with the league and 23 of its individual teams, according to Rovell.
In exchange for pulling current ads, Schnatter said the NFL has given Papa John's additional future spots moving forward.
Per Jonathan Maze of Nation's Restaurant News, Papa John's founder John Schnatter said sales are down due to "negative consumer sentiment" regarding the company's relationship with the NFL.
Schnatter also called the NFL "an example of poor leadership," according to Maze.
This is not the first time that Schnatter has been outspoken. As BI notes, Schnatter came under fire in 2012 for saying that the Affordable Care Act could be "lose-lose" for Papa John's franchisees and employees.
Schnatter argued that Obamacare would cost Papa John's $5-8 million annually and ultimately drive up the price of pizza.
In his 2017 book "Papa: The Story of Papa John's Pizza," Schnatter argued that regulations are steering the US away from the system of free enterprise he believes is crucial to the nation's success.
"America in 2016 is on the path to becoming what Germany was in 1867," Schnatter writes in "Papa." 1867 is the year that Schnatter's great-grandfather immigrated to the US from Germany as a young craftsman seeking work. The US was a land of opportunity where people were free to become successful without fear of attack or government interference.
In January 2017, Schnatter emphasized that he believes that regulation in the US needs to be dialed back to help businesses thrive.
"You've got to have free markets with limited government, with the proper amount of regulation where you don't jam entrepreneurship," Schnatter said.
It appears the mainstream media would prefer to once again kill the messenger than pay any attention to the message.