Papa John's

“Papa” John Schnatter, CEO of pizza chain Papa John’s, has always been an outspoken conservative, and often said somewhat outrageous things, from his outcry that providing basic healthcare for employees would raise the price of pizza a whole fourteen cents to saying he enjoys a business model of massively overpricing pizza.

His latest hot take delivered to your doorstep with a pepperoncini? That the NFL controversy over kneeling during the national anthem is the cause of his lackluster sales (Papa John’s is an NFL sponsor).

Predictably, Twitter did it’s thing.

Some users suggested that maybe John’s problem is that we’re just not that into his pizza.

Others have suggested the history of championing far-right causes is the real culprit.

And still others think the NFL is probably the most absurd scapegoat Johnny could’ve chosen.

Papa John’s even lost a customer from the extremely rare “person who actually likes Papa John’s” demographic.

Many professional football players have continued to kneel during the singing of the national anthem as a means of raising awareness about police killing African Americans with impunity since former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick became the first to do so in 2016.

Most recently, nearly the entire Houston Texans roster took a knee after remarks by team owner Bob McNair equating NFL players’ protests to “inmates” “run[ning] the prison.” While McNair has apologized for his words, players have vowed to continue their silent protest during the anthem, saying McNair’s comments are only further proof that their protest is necessary.

For the record, NFL players taking a knee hasn’t harmed the business of Papa John’s competitor Domino’s Pizza, which posted a strong quarter last month. The NFL’s ratings have been in a slump this year, with the protests and feelings engendered on both sides of the political spectrum seen as the primary culprit.

Katelyn Kivel is a journalist and political scientist in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Follow her on Twitter @KatelynKivel.


  1. So we stand for the national anthem at football games to make Papa John’s money? I’m so confused. I think it means that to be patriotic I am supposed to buy Papa John’s pizza.
    lmmfaao #11Cairborne8283 #takeakneel #dominosdelivers #iservedforthefirstamendmentandracialequalityyeeha

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