Papa John's came under fire a few weeks ago when the company's founder, John Schnatter, NFL's failure to stop the demonstrations was hurting his company, which has been the official pizza sponsor of the NFL since 2010.. Specifically, Schnatter took aim at the wave of anthem protests and said the
"The NFL has hurt us by not resolving the current debacle to the players' and owners' satisfaction," Schnatter said in an earnings call on Nov. 1, via Bloomberg. "NFL leadership has hurt Papa John's shareholders."
The pizza company was swiftly criticized by many for pressuring the league to suppress the player protests, which began as a way to bring attention to police brutality and racial injustice in America. It got worse for Schnatter when the far-right website The Daily Stormer declared Papa John's to be "the official pizza" of the alt-right.
Since then, the company remained relatively quiet, saying only that they "condemn racism in all forms" and doesn't want neo-Nazis eating their pizza.
But on Tuesday night, Papa John's official Twitter account published a string of tweets addressing their statements on that earnings call.
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. That definitely was not our intention. (1/3)— Papa John's Pizza (@PapaJohns) November 15, 2017
We believe in the right to protest inequality and support the players’ movement to create a new platform for change. We also believe together, as Americans, we should honor our anthem. There is a way to do both. (2/3)— Papa John's Pizza (@PapaJohns) November 15, 2017
We will work with the players and league to find a positive way forward. Open to ideas from all. Except neo-nazis — 🖕those guys. (3/3)— Papa John's Pizza (@PapaJohns) November 15, 2017
So, that's certainly more of a "sorry you were offended" apology than a "sorry, we screwed up" apology, which is something. If there's a "negative consumer sentiment" surrounding the Papa John's relationship with the NFL, as Schnatter claimed a few weeks ago, it'll be interesting to see if this semi-apology helps them any. If not, they could always try making better pizza.