Business

After losing $70 million in less than 24 hours, Papa John’s CEO blames the NFL

Papa John’s CEO seems to think kneeling football players have something to do with the fact that his pizza is less popular.

The CEO of Papa Johns isn’t having a good day, and it’s all the fault of kneeling football players.

According to Forbes, the pizza chain’s founder and CEO John Schnatter saw his net worth fall $70 million in “less than 24-hours” after the company released its third-quarter financial report this Tuesday. Forbes reports that the company “beat estimates on earnings and revenue, but it lowered guidance on same-store sales for the coming period.”

Investors were not pleased with that news and sent shares down 11% through 12:30 pm Eastern Time on Wednesday. The stock is now trading at just over $60 per share.

One casualty of the slide was Schnatter’s personal fortune. The 55-year-old—who owns roughly 25% of Papa John’s—is now worth $801 million, Forbes estimates.

During a conference call, Schnatter placed part of the blame on the NFL, which has faced controversy and strife in the wake of the “take a knee” protest movements that have swept through its ranks.

“The NFL has hurt us by not resolving the current debacle,” he reportedly said on a conference call this Wednesday.

“Leadership starts at the top, and this is an example of poor leadership,” he continued, adding that the “controversy is polarizing the customer, polarizing the country.”

“We are totally disappointed that the NFL and its leadership did not resolve the ongoing situation to the satisfaction of all parties long ago,” Schnatter said. “This should have been nipped in the bud a year and a half ago.

As inexplicable as Schnatter’s statement is, it’s not entirely out of line with his past public forays into expressing his political opinions. In 2012, he made waves when he slammed Obamacare as a “lose-lose” for his company and its employees, saying it would ultimately drive up the cost of his pizza. Although he didn’t publicly come out in support of Donald Trump, he donated $1,000 to Trump’s campaign.

In his 2017 book Papa: The Story of Papa John’s Pizza, Schnatter slams regulation, saying it’s putting America “on the path to becoming what Germany was in 1867.” As Business Insider points out, “1867 is the year that Schnatter’s great-grandfather immigrated to the US from Germany as a young craftsman seeking work. The US was a land of opportunity where people were free to become successful without fear of attack or government interference.”

Featured image via YouTube

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