Papa John's Founder Exits Company Over NFL Comments

December 21, 2017

(RADIO ALICE) - John Schnatter, founder of Papa John's Pizza is stepping down as the company's CEO over comments he's made about the NFL's handling of national anthem protests by it's football players. Comments that he later apologized over.

At the first of the year, Schnatter's COO, Steve Ritchie will take over as CEO, the company announced on Thursday. Schnatter will remain chairman of the board as he is Papa John's biggest shareholder.

Early in the year, San Francisco 49er, Colin Kaepernick knealt during the national anthem. Protesting the mistreatment by police officers of black men, many other football players and athletes took suit of the cause.

With Papa John's a major advertiser and sponsor of the NFL, Schnatter then blamed the company's slow sales to the controversy surrounding the kneeling players. During a company earnings conference call early in November, Schnatter said "The controversy is polarizing the customer, polarizing the country,"

When a white supremacist group praised Schnatter's comments, he apologized two weeks later.

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