Papa John's x NFL

Papa John’s and the NFL have severed ties, after the pizza company’s CEO made negative comments about players’ protest of the national anthem last year, reports ESPN.

Last year, Papa John’s then-CEO John Schnatter said players who staged protests during the national anthem hurt business. After the comments, the company pulled the NFL shield off its commercials during game broadcasts and took the shield off its pizza boxes.

“We are disappointed the NFL and its leadership did not resolve this,” Schnatter said at the time.

12 days later and after Papa John’s stock dropped 12 percent, Schnatter apologized for his comments.

In the company’s earnings conference call recently, new CEO Steve Ritchie said the NFL and the company have mutually decided to cut ties, and it is no longer the official pizza of the league… the first time since 2010.

Despite leaving the league, it will continue to invest in the NFL through its local-market deals with 22 teams.

According to the report, sales for Papa John’s were down 3.9 percent across the country from October through December versus the same time period a year before.