Papa John's apologizes for criticizing NFL anthem protests - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Papa John's apologizes for criticizing NFL anthem protests

(AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File). FILE - In this Oct. 2, 2016 file photo, San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick, left, and safety Eric Reid kneel during the national anthem before an NFL football game against the Dallas Cowboys in Santa Clara,... (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File). FILE - In this Oct. 2, 2016 file photo, San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick, left, and safety Eric Reid kneel during the national anthem before an NFL football game against the Dallas Cowboys in Santa Clara,...
(AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez). San Francisco 49ers safety Eric Reid (35) and wide receiver Marquise Goodwin (11) kneel during the performance of the national anthem before an NFL football game against the New York Giants in Santa Clara, Calif., Sunday... (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez). San Francisco 49ers safety Eric Reid (35) and wide receiver Marquise Goodwin (11) kneel during the performance of the national anthem before an NFL football game against the New York Giants in Santa Clara, Calif., Sunday...
(AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez). San Francisco 49ers safety Eric Reid (35) and wide receiver Marquise Goodwin (11) kneel during the performance of the national anthem before an NFL football game against the New York Giants in Santa Clara, Calif., Sunday... (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez). San Francisco 49ers safety Eric Reid (35) and wide receiver Marquise Goodwin (11) kneel during the performance of the national anthem before an NFL football game against the New York Giants in Santa Clara, Calif., Sunday...
(AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File). FILE - In this Sept. 10, 2017, file photo, San Francisco 49ers safety Eric Reid (35) kneels in front of teammates during the playing of the national anthem before an NFL football game against the Carolina Panthers,... (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File). FILE - In this Sept. 10, 2017, file photo, San Francisco 49ers safety Eric Reid (35) kneels in front of teammates during the playing of the national anthem before an NFL football game against the Carolina Panthers,...

By The Associated Press

Papa John's Pizza apologized Tuesday night for comments made by CEO John Schnatter blaming sluggish pizza sales on NFL players kneeling during the national anthem.

The Louisville, Kentucky-based company is a major NFL sponsor and advertiser, and Schnatter said on an earnings call on Nov. 1 that "NFL leadership has hurt Papa John's shareholders" and that the protests "should have been nipped in the bud a year and a half ago."

The company tweeted a statement offering to "work with the players and league to find a positive way forward."

"The statements made on our earnings call were describing the factors that impact our business and we sincerely apologize to anyone that thought they were divisive," it said. "That definitely was not our intention.

"We believe in the right to protest inequality and support the players' movement to create a new platform for change. We also believe, as Americans, we should honor our anthem. There is a way to do both."

The movement was started last year by former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who kneeled to protest what he said was police mistreatment of blacks. More players began kneeling after President Donald Trump said at an Alabama rally in September that team owners should get rid of players who protest during the anthem.

Papa John's added that it is "open to ideas from all. Except neo-Nazis." It previously has tried to distance itself from white supremacists who praised Schnatter's comments, saying it does not want those groups to buy its pizza.

The company's stock has fallen by nearly 13 percent since Schnatter's comments.

___

For more NFL coverage: http://www.pro32.ap.org and http://www.twitter.com/AP_NFL

Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Powered by Frankly