Papa John's apologizes for comments about National Football League player protests

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Papa John's Pizza came under fire a few weeks ago when the company's founder, John Schnatter, blamed the National Football League for the pizza chain's recent drop in sales.

But on Tuesday night, Papa John's official Twitter account published a string of tweets addressing their statements on that earnings call. "That was definitely not our intention", Papa John's tweeted.

With controversy around the national anthem protests percolating, Papa John's CEO John Schnatter said on the November 1 call, "The NFL leadership has hurt Papa John's shareholders".

Although the controversy surrounding the anthem protests is quickly singled out as a major reason behind the NFL's declining viewership - ratings were down 5% overall through Week 7 compared to the same point previous year - network TV viewership is down overall. Of the "controversy", Schnatter also said, "This should have been nipped in the bud a year and a half ago".

"The NFL has hurt us", the pizza powerhouse's pitchman John Schnatter explained two weeks ago.

In a series of tweets, the company said they believe in the right to protest inequality and support the players' movement to create change. We also believe, as Americans, we should honor our anthem. The four major networks (NBC, CBS, ABC and Fox) are all suffering declining viewership, according to CNN.

Papa John's Pizza is the fourth largest take-out and pizza delivery restaurant chain in the United States. Open to ideas from all.

Like many sponsors, we are in contact with the National Football League and once the issue is resolved between the players and the owners, we are optimistic that the NFL's best years are ahead.

Some on Twitter weren't buying Papa John's apology.

The chain then used an emoji for the middle finger, "those guys".

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