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Papa John’s CEO not happy with NFL leadership

Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones might have used his influence to get Papa John's to call out the NFL, according to Mike Florio.

It looks like Papa John’s is about to become the exclusive pizza provider of the Dallas Cowboys.

In a conference call regarding the company’s disappointing third quarter earnings, Papa John’s CEO John Schnatter blamed company struggles on the NFL’s lingering anthem controversy. And he blamed the NFL’s lingering anthem controversy on NFL leadership.

“Good or bad, leadership starts at the top and this is an example of poor leadership,” Schnatter said in prepared remarks, via Chris Otts of “This should have been nipped in the bud a year and a half ago.”

That’s a shot at Commissioner Roger Goodell, who allowed the issue to simmer until the pot blew up in September, when President Trump attacked players who had been kneeling or sitting during the national anthem -- and essentially challenged more of them to do the same.

“The [NFL] controversy is polarizing the customer, polarizing the country,” Schnatter said. But the country already was polarized; the anthem controversy simply allowed that polarity to invade pro football, via politicians decided to intrude on sports.

Papa John’s previously had been publicly quiet about the drop in sales due to the decline in NFL ratings, and in turn in the reduction in viewers seeing Schnatter hawk his product. But Schnatter is now willing to speak loudly, and it’s clear that he -- like Cowboys owner Jerry Jones -- isn’t happy with the league office’s failure to keep a small kitchen fire from engulfing the whole house.