Papa John’s founder and CEO is leaving the company after ill-conceived attack on NFL players

Better executives, better pizza?

Papa John's CEO John Schnatter. CREDIT:
  Jack Dempsey via AP Images
Papa John's CEO John Schnatter. CREDIT: Jack Dempsey via AP Images

John Schnatter, the proprietor of bad takes and even worse food as CEO of Papa John’s, is stepping down from the company he founded after weeks of withering criticism for his attacks on NFL players who are protesting for racial justice.

Schnatter used the company’s most recent earnings call to criticize NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell for allowing the “debacle” of pre-game protests to extend for weeks into the 2017 season. Papa John’s is one of the largest corporate sponsors of the NFL, and Schnatter argued — falsely — that the protests were the root cause for the league’s falling ratings and, consequently, his company’s bottom line.

Critics were quick to point out that several other NFL sponsors seemed to be making out just fine, and that maybe Papa John’s financial fortunes had less to do with the NFL and more to do with the disgusting food they slanderously market as pizza.


Blowback to Schnatter’s comments was swift and unrelenting. Within 24 hours of his remarks, white supremacists who have pushed the false narrative of the NFL’s politics-induced ratings drop triumphantly declared Papa John’s the official “pizza” of white supremacy, forcing the company to issue a statement disavowing their own customers.

Schnatter has found himself in political hot water before, having publicly lobbied against Obamacare during the previous administration, saying it would force the company to raise pizza prices, which caused Papa John’s shares to drop 4.2 percent. He donated almost $1,000 to Donald Trump’s presidential campaign.

With their toxic executive gone, the company can now focus on matters closer at hand, like why their hot cheese circles taste like a salty cardboard shoebox, or why garlic dipping sauce is regarded as an acceptable condiment.