Papa John's CEO John Schnatter Is Out After Criticizing NFL Kneelers

CEO John Schnatter will be replaced by the COO two months after criticizing NFL kneelers.

John Schnatter, the founder and face of Papa John’s pizza empire, will step down as CEO next month about two months after he publicly criticized the National Football League’s leadership over anti-police protests by its players.

Schnatter will be replaced as chief executive by Chief Operating Officer Steve Ritchie on Jan. 1, the company announced Thursday, according to the Chicago Tribune. Schnatter, who appears in the pizza chain’s commercials and on its pizza boxes, is the company’s biggest shareholder and will remain the chairman of the board.

Schnatter blamed the company’s sales slump on the outcry surrounding players kneeling during the national anthem.

“The controversy is polarizing the customer, polarizing the country,” Schnatter said during a conference call on Nov. 1.

“This should have been nipped in the bud a year and a half ago,” Schnatter said in prepared remarks. “Like many sponsors, we are in contact with the NFL and once the issue is resolved between the players and the owners, we are optimistic that the NFL’s best years are ahead. But good or bad, leadership starts at the top, and this is an example of poor leadership.”

The company later apologized for Schnatter’s comments.

The problem was made worse after the white supremacist website Daily Stormer declared Papa John's the official pizza of the alt-right. Papa Johns responded by saying that the didn't want white supremacists to buy pizza from them.

The Chicago Tribune reported that Ritchie would not say if Schnatter’s NFL comments played a role in Schnatter stepping down, only saying that it's “the right time to make this change.”

Shares of Papa John's are down about 13 percent since the day before the NFL comments were made, the Chicago Tribune reported. That drop off reduced Schnatter's stake in the company by nearly $84 million.

Schnatter owns nearly 9.5 million shares of Papa John's International Inc. The total value of his shares is at more than $560 million on Thursday, according to FactSet.

The company hasn't decided if Schnatter, 56, will still be its spokesman, according to Ritchie. He said that a decision will be made early next year.

Comments (40)
No. 1-40
xraywhf
xraywhf

HEY, PJ! Deleted your app. Never spending another dime on your product! Ever!

butterfly
butterfly

Schnatter needs to start another pizza company then we will make sure he sells this company out of business! Anyone backing the NFL is dead to the citizens of this country!

TRKelley01
TRKelley01

Looks like I'll not be buying any Papa John's Pizza now. Haven't watched an NFL game this year due to the disrespect the NFL has shown both our military servicemen and our LEOs.

Janet
Janet

What a dumb thing for them to do.

Hannibal
Hannibal

Papa John's tastes like shit anyway.

Hi_estComnDenomn
Hi_estComnDenomn

@TRKelley01 disrespect to servicemen? How exactly? Kneeling was a service member's idea. Or have you not looked past what you've been told to on your favorite news network?

mrfgalvanjr63
mrfgalvanjr63

Going to skip Papa John's for now on. If you can back the NFL, and there crybaby oppress Millionaire players, and there share holders. On taking a knee and disrespecting America. And the millions of fans who pay there hard earn money, and tax dollars. And now you replace CEO John Schnatter. Well that's the last straw, so now you don't have my business and my office.

Danimal9752
Danimal9752

@Hi_estComnDenomn Kaepernick is a service member? What service exactly? And hell yes it's disrespectful to service men and women. Were you to have any close relatives serve in the military (or were YOU to get off your fat ass and do so), you'd understand fully how it's disrespectful. The fact that you need it explained to you says it all. I get the feeling you'd need someone to explain it with paper and crayons for you to get it.

jakesj40
jakesj40

What a shame, seems like free speech is only for liberals and snowflakes.

Qwik
Qwik

We Stand for the Flag. We Kneel for the Fallen. And We Bow for the Cross.

ACSO-Charles-One
ACSO-Charles-One

Your pizza sucked anyway.

Hi_estComnDenomn
Hi_estComnDenomn

@Danimal9752 first, Kap isn't a vet. But the guy who convinced him to take a knee is both a green beret veteran and former NFL player, named Nate Boyer. Kap has mentioned this over and over, but some people still haven't received the message. Nate Boyer even agrees with Kap's protest. He and Kap compromised that instead of sitting and having ignorant people think you're being disrespectful to veterans, take a knee as a sign of respect to veterans while also refusing to stand for an unjust system. Kap's fight has never, ever been against vets or America. Just corrupt police. I'm surprised i have to tell another adult these facts that are easily researchable.

Second, i am a veteran. So are my mom and dad, an aunt, 2 uncles, and a grandfather. brother is still active duty Army. So yes, i understand that we joined partly to protect freedom of speech. So i guess you could say not all veterans feel disrespected. E ode in my family, and the former green beret Nate Boyers respect Kap for risking livelihood to stand up for what he and many others believe in.

Now... How many years did you serve?

Hi_estComnDenomn
Hi_estComnDenomn

@jakesj40 how is this a denial of free speech? Did the government fire Papa John for what he said?

searonia
searonia

What happened to free speech?.....Must be more to the story, that we don't know.

SnarkyCop
SnarkyCop

Editor

@Hi_estComnDenomn I hear a lot of this "it was never about the flag" stuff flying around, but then there's this:

ben
ben

Thank you for your service @Hi_estComnDenomn

ben
ben

And to all those in your family who have served as well

Hi_estComnDenomn
Hi_estComnDenomn

@SnarkyCop i didn't say that though, so I'm not sure why you tagged me.

lds719
lds719

Don't let the door hit you in the ass. Haven't bought their pizza since this police hating kneeling crap started with the NFL.

CopsKidTwo
CopsKidTwo

Yet another sad day when standing up in opposition to a false narrative gets you the boot and where people supporting false narratives are given jobs in universities, public offices, and in Hollywood.

As long as you support the false narratives laid out as gospel truths by liberals, then you can say whatever BS comes to mind. Anyone who doesn’t believe you or speaks out against it is: a bigot, prejudice, racist, sexist, homophobe, and/or fill in the blank for whatever “ist” is being tossed around today.

Prwenduro
Prwenduro

Good for John for voicing most American’s view?

Kkfdavis
Kkfdavis

Love Papa John's but now is the time to boycott! Maybe they would rethink getting him out if they lose business because of it!

Hi_estComnDenomn
Hi_estComnDenomn

@Kkfdavis did you read the article? Him being CEO was costing them. They were already losing money.

hausdok
hausdok

Well, that's a shame. Papa John's is the only place I've ordered from in the past 22 years. Guess I'm switching. Don't do business with politically correct types.

JohnPollastro
JohnPollastro

]

JohnPollastro
JohnPollastro

Hi_estComnDenomn
Hi_estComnDenomn
Hi_estComnDenomn
Since October 2017
Hi_estComnDenomn
Hi_estComnDenomn
Hi_estComnDenomn
Since October 2017
Hi_estCommDenomn

JohnPollastro
JohnPollastro

@Hi_estComnDeomn that my father and i have the flag

Hi_estComnDenomn
Hi_estComnDenomn

@JohnPollastro I'm sorry for your loss. Not quite sure what the first picture means though, as I've had to fold and deliver flags to families before. I'm also sure Nate Boyer has folded a flag before, and by your definition, he disrespected the flag. I suppose him being a former Green Beret counts for nothing, eh?

JohnPollastro
JohnPollastro

You definitely got a chip on your shoulder and don’t care about anybody but yourself and your opinion. Some people out here have got regrets and hatred for criminals and a heart that has been broken by scumbags taking their loved ones or are tired a scumbags thinking it’s ok to abuse the law me myself couldn’t pass the physical fore the marines due to a heart defect this was back in desert storm and I tried to become an officer and got turned away for the same reason. That devistated me and heart broke my father, out of his 2 sons me being the youngest I was to follow in his

JohnPollastro
JohnPollastro

Footsteps I was trained by him since I was twelve I was a class a marksman I had the attitude of a marine and a future that he planned and I accepted I played football all the way until my senior year with the work ethics to become a protector of our nation and the a protector of our city until the day I just layed on the field and my heart gave out, my father went back to school and got a teachers degree just so he could coach me in high school, they brought me off the field and for one play I sat and put myself back in the game because I was taught to put the pain aside and go fight the battle no matter how I felt because I had brothers out there that I needed to protect, after the game I was rushed to the hospital and that ended my life plan, I was diagnosed with congestive heart failure it ran in my family and I was the one that had it between the 2 brothers I felt that I let down the one man I respected and didn’t add up to what I was traine to become. Not only was it his dream but was my dream to. So thank you for your service. But try maybe not to be so harsh with your comments to people because you don’t know what some of went through in the Service or out Officer Blue was nice enough not to suspend me from this site and ask if I cooled my jets so this is how I respond to you ! Hi_estComnDenomn. So I hope you take this in consideration before you jab someone like you do. Everyone has their opinions and you just bash everyone one. Don’t push people like me to a point to go into a shell these people are here because they are backing law enforcement something this country hasn’t done in many years even when my dad was serving they were considered pigs. We had to move twice because of attempts on our family by scumbags that killed our dog who was a retired k-9 who protected us and didn’t give up until he died chasing the person away we found him dying at the front door he wanted to see us one last time before he closed his eyes, I had more respect for that dog than I do for you. I’ll end my rant here but I will never be silenced by someone with your attitude! Have a Merry Christmas and a long life

JohnPollastro
JohnPollastro

@Hi_estComnDenomn

curly33
curly33

This dosen't help Papa John's situation. I'm more upset and less likely to support them more now than ever. It just shows they don't support the American flag and what it stands for. They've taken a knee themselves!

Hi_estComnDenomn
Hi_estComnDenomn

@JohnPollastro you're right, we all come from different backgrounds. But your life outcome and story shouldn't effect my outlook and story. Sorry for what you've been through, but i refuse to change the way i talk to make someone feel better. If you don't like what I'm saying, block me.

jpmac1972
jpmac1972

Oh my fuc.in god...that's it Colin Kaepernick is a racist and prejudice, even though a white family raised him...

Hi_estComnDenomn
Hi_estComnDenomn

@jpmac1972 he's neither of those things, and his parents have publicly agreed with his stance. He's against racist white folk though, so if you're offended by his statement, you probably fit the mold.

civilwar
civilwar

Screw the NFL. College ball, MLB, NASCAR, and PBR. Plenty of sports besides these professional crybabies.

HighestCommDemonator
HighestCommDemonator

Kaepernick sucks.

Dances_With_Skunks
Dances_With_Skunks

I hope Papa Johns goes out of business. I'll never order from then again, and I'll be sure to pass this all over social media.

wilburfikesr
wilburfikesr

I am one of the protesters that is protesting the NFL protesters. I saluted PAPA JOHN'S when they to began protesting against the NFL. However now that you see fit to fire your CEO because of his support, I for one will never purchase another pizza from your company. Hundreds of protesters stated that when your CEO removed PAPA JOHN"S support from the NFL that they would now start using ONLY PAPA JOHN'S for pizza, but now that's all changed. Lets just hope you company will now end up in BANKRUPTCY!

Voltates
Voltates

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