Papa John’s pizza founder and owner John Schnatter is going after NFL commissioner Roger Goodell for not dealing with the national anthem controversy, something he feels is destroying his pizza sales as a sponsor of the NFL.
“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.”
The NFL has seen one of its biggest controversies unfold over the past year as Colin Kaepernick sparked a protest of kneeling for the national anthem in an effort to bring awareness to police brutality in America.
The actions taken by Kaepernick have trickled down to many other players kneeling for the national anthem. Even entire teams, such as the Dallas Cowboys and the Pittsburgh Steelers, have collectively elected not to stand for the national anthem or to not even be on the field when it is played.
Now, the NFL, which basically owns one day of the week in regards to cable marketing, is receiving backlash from companies that are paying a lot of money to run their ads during games in hopes of boosting their sales.
Many NFL fans who are against the actions taken by the players and teams to not stand for the national anthem have completely stopped watching the NFL. This has affected many companies as there is declining viewership for each game recently.
“Leadership starts at the top, and this is an example of poor leadership,” Schnatter said.
When it comes down to it, the NFL is a business. At the same time, however, these players are also guaranteed the rights of self expression as a citizen of the United States.
This paradox has left the NFL in a standstill with both parties and it will only continue to get worse if viewership keeps declining.