The NFL continues to take hits.
It was announced on Wednesday morning that the Pizza chain Papa John's would be pulling its advertising associated with the NFL. According to statement that was made to Jonathan Maze of Nation's Restaurant News, Papa John's founder John Schnatter went on record by stating that sales are down due to "negative consumer sentiment" regarding the company's relationship with the NFL.
The founder of the pizza chain also stated that the NFL "an example of poor leadership," according to Maze. This is a strong statement to say the least.
Even the casual fan of the National Football League (NFL) knows that the biggest topic that has been making the rounds among the media and players during the current season has been players' decision to protest during the national anthem.
Keep in mind that this trend all came about thanks to former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick last season. Despite the fact that he is not in the league anymore, this issue has continued into the 2017 season. It really kicked up due to to the critical comments were made by President Donald Trump.
Ultimately, this led to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell sending a letter to all 32 NFL teams expressing his preference that players stand for the anthem.
It should be noted that the National Football League has yet to make the rule in place and enforce it in players to stand, but there is a clear schism between players and NFL leadership on the issue.
Schnatter said the NFL's issues with its players should have been "nipped in the bud" 18 months ago. Recently, Nielsen announced that following Week 6 of the NFL season that NFL ratings are down 7.5 percent in comparison to last season
Schnatter believes it’s due to last year's decline to the presidential election but said this year's drop is due to the "polarizing" controversy. The biggest factor is due to Papa John's' sales being down six percent.
Unless you are not a hardcore fan then you might not know that Papa John's has been deeply rooted in the NFL since it has a deal with the league and 23 of its individual teams.
Former Indianapolis Colts and Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning is a Papa John's franchisee who also appears in commercials for the company. Schnatter said the NFL has given Papa John's additional future spots moving forward.
"The NFL has hurt us," company founder and CEO John Schnatter said. "We are disappointed the NFL and its leadership did not resolve this. Leadership starts at the top, and this is an example of poor leadership," Schnatter said, noting he thought the issue had been "nipped in the bud" a year and a half ago.