By now, you’ve probably heard of the Take a Knee movement. Inspired by quarterback Colin Kaepernick in 2016, many players in the NFL have started to take a knee during the national anthem to protest police brutality and bring light to racial injustice in America. So it’s a little strange that Papa John’s is blaming these protests for fallen pizza sales.
“The NFL has hurt us,” company founder and CEO John Schnatter said, according to Fortune. “More importantly, by not resolving the current debacle to the players’ and owners’ satisfaction. NFL leadership has hurt Papa John’s shareholders.”
While we’re glad that Schnatter is placing blame on NFL leadership, as opposed to the players taking a knee, it’s both far-fetched and insensitive to link this important issue to pizza sales.
As reported by ESPN writer Darren Rovell, ratings for the NFL are down 7.5 percent in comparison to last year — which is a notable decline. However, ratings continue to increase week by week, indicating that it’s not Take a Knee that’s drawing fans away. Furthermore, ratings have also been a bit shaky for baseball this year in comparison to last, so football isn’t the only sport to take a hit (ergo…it’s likely not the peaceful protest of racial inequality that’s hurting Papa John’s).
Schnatter says that last year's NFL ratings decline was due to the election. He says this year's is due to "polarizing" controversy. $PZZA— Jonathan Maze (@jonathanmaze) November 1, 2017
This isn’t the first time that Schnatter has made poorly researched excuses for fallen sales. Last year, he claimed it was due to the election.
Still, Schnatter figured that the best way to handle the situation was to pull several ads that would have aired during NFL games this season.
Which football game are you watching today? We've got the halftime eats.Posted by Papa John's Pizza on Sunday, December 22, 2013
Whether these protests have anything to do with the decline of pizza sales or not, we remain incredibly inspired by the NFL players who are taking a stand by taking a knee, and we both respect and support their right to do so.