Papa John's apologizes for blaming low earnings on National Football League players' protests

Papa John's fights neo-Nazi backlash with middle-finger emoji

Except neo-nazis - those guys.

Papa John's profits fell short of third-quarter estimates, and its stock fell to a three-month low early in November.

Papa John's issued an apology via its Twitter account Tuesday for having blamed disappointing quarterly earnings on NFL players' protests during the national anthem.

The pizza powerhouse ended with, "We will work with the players and league to find a positive way forward".

If there's a "negative consumer sentiment" surrounding the Papa John's relationship with the National Football League, as Schnatter claimed a few weeks ago, it'll be interesting to see if this semi-apology helps them any. That didn't go over well with Papa J, who helped write the tweets according to the company's Twitter feed. Open to ideas from all. "This should've been nipped in the bud a year and half ago".

That last sentence is in reference to a supremacist website saying the company is the official pizza of the alt-right after Schnatter made his comments.

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Schnatter previously blamed commissioner Roger Goodell for allowing the anthem protests to continue rather than take a harsher stance against the demonstrations. "NFL leadership has hurt Papa John's shareholders".

In a three-tweet mea culpa, the Louisville-based company did a 180 and said it supported players' right to protest.

Several prominent figures criticized Schnatter for his initial insensitive comments, insinuating that pizza sales are more important than taking a stand against racism and police brutality - the reasons behind the majority of players protesting during the anthem.

"Leadership starts at the top and this is an example of poor leadership", Schnatter said.

Papa John's replied to some of the responses, acknowledging that it "should have acted sooner" following Schnatter's comments.

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