Everyone wants a piece of the national anthem controversy surrounding the NFL, but not as many people want a piece of Papa John's product lately, and the two things are connected, according to the pizza chain's founder.
Speaking on an earnings call Wednesday, John Schnatter, founder of Papa John's, blamed the NFL for a dropoff in sales at the pizza chain and pointed directly to the national anthem controversy.
"The NFL has hurt us by not resolving the current debacle to the players' and owners' satisfaction," Schnatter said via Bloomberg. "NFL leadership has hurt Papa John's shareholders."
Even more specifically, Schnatter, who appears multiple times per week on NFL advertisements that usually feature Peyton Manning as well, blamed Roger Goodell for the pizza sale problem.
"Leadership starts at the top, and this is an example of poor leadership," Schnatter said.
On Wednesday, Papa John's shares fell to a three-month low of $62.14 (as of about noon ET), dropping more than $5 per share with the news of the struggles on the earnings call.
According to Bloomberg, the dropoff was the biggest fall in eight months for Papa John's coming on the heels of the company's profits falling short of third-quarter estimates.
Papa John's, according to Bloomberg, "also trimmed its revenue and profit forecasts for the year" during the call.
The connection that Schnatter is making here has to be related to the claim from some folks, primarily on social media, that they are boycotting the NFL during the anthem controversy. As a result, some NFL sponsors are concerned about the effect such a hypothetical boycott could have on sales of their respective products. Papa John's has been the official pizza sponsor of the NFL since 2010.
Schnatter said that "negative consumer sentiment" -- essentially the pizza chain's association with the NFL -- primarily fueled the lack of pizza sales during the quarter and resulted in the drop in stock price.