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Papa John's Says the NFL Protests Are Hurting Its Sales

Justina Huddleston is an editor and the head writer for TDmonthly Magazine. She has been a freelance writer for several years, though her real passion is cooking. You can see the recipes she creates on her vegan food blog, A Life of Litt...

Papa John's insists their big loss has nothing to do with pizza quality & everything to do with football

Sales are down at Papa John's, and it's not because people have realized they can get better pizza elsewhere. At least, not according to founder John Schnatter, who claims that the players' protesting during the national anthem is leading to a drop in viewership, which then is contributing to less people seeing ads for Papa John's and ordering pizza during the game.

More: Mom of NFL's Colin Kaepernick Responds to Trump Comment

It's not totally preposterous to link the NFL's falling ratings to lower sales for its advertisers — its viewership is down about 18 percent compared to 2015 — but the protests aren't necessarily to blame. Extreme weather events like Hurricane Irma and the Las Vegas shooting in October likely drew away viewers who were keeping up with the news instead of tuning into football, and the fact that younger TV watchers and sports fans are less likely to have traditional TV that lets them watch games in real time also likely hurts those viewership numbers according to Sporting News.

Another potential reason for declining sales? The number of restaurants in the U.S. is currently growing at twice the rate of the population, and that's why other fast-food and fast-casual restaurants like Chipotle and Domino's have also seen share prices of their stocks fall in the past year.

More: Iggy Azalea's latest feud is with Papa John's, & we're 100 percent serious

But much of the internet wasn't happy with the Papa John's CEO, Schnatter, conflating the NFL player protests with the chain's abysmal sales, and they weren't afraid to let it be known.

On the other hand, the racists of Twitter have now found a new favorite pizza chain:

More: Remember when John Legend called the national anthem "weak?" Oh, that just happened.

Well, there you have it. Sales are down at Papa John's, and it looks like they now have a PR crisis on their hands too. But hey, at least we know how well their partners at the NFL handle those! Oh, wait...

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