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

Member of the San Francisco 49ers kneel and stand during the playing of the National Anthem

Member of the San Francisco 49ers kneel and stand during the playing of the National Anthem

In a third tweet, the company says, quote, "We will work with the players and league to find a positive way forward".

A company representative said on an earnings call earlier this month that declining viewership of NFL games, due to players protesting racial inequality by kneeling during the national anthem, was to blame for their declining sales.

In a series of Twitter posts, the official pizza company of the NFL reiterated that the business challenges related to the league did impact its own business, but the company backtracked on Schnatter's opinion at the time that player protests "should have been nipped in the bud a year and a half ago". The controversy kicked off after San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick took a knee during the national anthem a year ago, inspiring other players to engage in similar forms of protest to recognize racial inequality and police brutality.

Papa John's sought to distance itself from the far-right movement after its controversial response to national anthem protests from several NFL players.

"Leadership starts at the top, and this is an example of poor leadership", he added, apparently calling out commissioner Roger Goodell.

Since 2010, Papa John's has been the official pizza of the NFL.

When the pizza giant's anti-protest stance was made public, some white supremacists took it as a sign to re-name the brand as the "official pizza of the alt-right". Open to ideas from all.

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