Papa John Blames NFL Protesters For Sales Plummet


  • Desperate to justify falling profits to shareholders.
  • Mocked by DiGiorno
  • Pizza Hut says they’re doing just fine, thank you.

In a fit of bluster tailor-made to appeal to Fox News and the Conspiricist Right’s reactionary gullibility,  Papa John’s founder and CEO John “Papa” Schnatter blamed NFL players who take a knee during the national anthem for his struggling corporation’s plummeting sales figures.

“Leadership starts at the top, and this is an example of poor leadership,” Schnatter said on a conference call with investors Wednesday. “The NFL has hurt Papa John’s shareholders.”

Schnatter joins the short but boisterous crowd of free speech opponents, polo-shirt racists, and drooling rednecks in their chorus of (add Sheriff Roscoe P. Coltrane-voice here, puttering over “Them Dukes, them Dukes”) who can’t stomach the cracking glass of the Old Boys Network as a broader, more diverse group of American voices demands to be heard--although one suspects Schnatter, who famously bemoaned the fact that he would have to raise the price of his pizzas by 14 cents each if compelled to provide basic health coverage to his employees, so he would cut employee hours instead (aside to Mr. Schnatter: I don’t by your “ketchup bread” so-called pizza, but if I did, I’d gladly throw in an extra quarter if it meant your people had health coverage, and you can keep the extra 11 cents for yourself.) He’s just another rich white guy bleating “how dare they” when somebody who doesn’t fit his antebellum idea of what voices deserve to be heard.

Maybe he should taste the product he is putting out. The fact that he includes dipping sauce for his pies, presumably to make the tasteless crust vaguely palatable is a hint. Papa John’s Pizza is the standard bearer of what we call, at our house, “lowest-common denominator” pizza. That means, when you’re at a high school football game or an acquaintance’s awkward evening of cheap beer and Cards Against Humanity, you shrug and maybe eat a piece. Two if find yourself drinking too much, but you don’t bagel_bites_package_cheese_pepperonimumble primal “ughhheummmmmmm” like a hedonistic neanderthal the way you do when you order real pizza, from a pie joint that doesn’t literally pull the pizza off a conveyor belt. (Seriously, if you see a conveyor belt in a pizza shop RUN, don’t walk–find a real italian joint. Hell, you’re better off eating frozen pizza bagels

No, Papa John is looking for a scapegoat to explain his failing numbers to shareholders that have been ready to take him by the throat for a while now, and picking the NFL not only gives him a highly visible, controversial straw man to poke, it give him leverage to cut costs by feigning outrage and weaseling out of advertising commitments he’d made to the NFL. Clever, right?

Except few outside the spittle-stained turf of Sean Hannity, Alex “Immigrant Terrorist Catholics stole my brain” Jones, the the general Fox-Breitbart-InfoWars triangle are buying. Hilariously, DiGiorno frozen pizzas, which actually taste far better than Papa Screenshot_16John’s, have been gleefully savaging Papa Johns on social media. And just yesterday Pizza Hut, which pushes out servicable corporate pies that taste like artisinal creative masterpieces compared to the Papa, bragged of their recent sales growth and pointedly stated that they’re not seeing any of the effects Schnatter claims.   Ouch!



About JunkChuck

Native, Militant Westsylvanian (the first last best place), laborer, gardener, and literary hobbyist (if by literary you mean "hack"). I've had a bunch of different blogs, probably four, due to a recurring compulsion to start over. This incarnation owes to a desire to dredge up the best entries of the worst little book of hand-scrawled poems I could ever dream of writing, salvageable excerpts from fiction both in progress and long-abandoned. and a smattering of whatever the hell seems to fit at any particular moment. At first blush, I was here just to focus on old, terrible verse, but I reserve the right to include...anything. Maybe everything, certainly my love of pulp novels growing garlic, the Pittsburgh Steelers and howling at the moon--both figuratively and, on rare occasions, literally.
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4 Responses to Papa John Blames NFL Protesters For Sales Plummet

  1. joey says:

    I agree with your commentary on the pizza itself as well as your opinions on him. Never been impressed with either of them.


  2. Schnatter is an asshat. He’s a big booster of my alma mater, and even sits on the Board of Trustees. He shows up at every football game in his restored Camaro, glad hands everybody, then peels out into the sunset. He’s currently Public Enemy No. 1 for our fans because he was behind getting our AD sacked two weeks ago, so most here aren’t happy with him anyway. Now he spouts off about the NFL/anthem issue. I don’t know the dude well enough to call him a racist, but he’s definitely a greedy bastard. And you’re right, their pizza sucks. I never buy it, and his company logo is on our stadium.


  3. kingmidget says:

    The only thing I’m going to quibble with here is that Pizza Hut is better. OK, I acknowledge that I haven’t actually had Pizza Hut in almost 30 years because my last experience with their pizza was soooooooooo horrible I swore I would never have another one again — a solemn vow I have managed to stick to.


  4. debc says:

    I used to like Papa Johns, but I haven’t eaten it in years now. So naturally, I wouldn’t know what’s changed. They used to taste good, used to remind me of what the ‘real Italian pizza’ we bought when we lived in Italy tasted like. But again, that was a very very long time ago, and they’ve made changes, I’m sure.

    The truth is, if they have to rely on football sales to keep customers, they’re doing something wrong.


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