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Papa John’s Blames NFL National Anthem Protests for Lukewarm Pizza Sales

Start ordering extra cheese, America

Papa John’s pizza sales are getting cold, but the fast-food franchise has a good excuse for that — it’s all your fault, kneeling NFL players.

“The NFL has hurt us,” CEO John Schnatter said during a Wednesday call with media analysts. “And more importantly, by not resolving the current debacle to the players and owners satisfaction, NFL leadership has hurt Papa John’s shareholders.”

“This should have been nipped in the bud a year and a half ago,” he added, referring to the divisive nature of the ongoing player protests, which started quietly last August and picked up steam this season.

Not cool, Colin Kaepernick.

NFL executives aren’t exactly throwing a pizza party over the 2017 regular season either. TV ratings are down, and the only thing anyone’s talking about is players’ “Star-Spangled Banner” participation — or the lack thereof — even on earnings calls for pizza companies.

On the news of the poorer-than-expected third-quarter financials, PZZA — Papa John’s clever stock symbol — closed down almost $6 per share today, or minus 8.5 percent from Tuesday.

Papa John’s is the National Football League’s official pizza partner, and retired NFL quarterback Peyton Manning is the pizza company’s paid spokesperson.