Papa John's apologizes for "divisive" comments that National Football League protests hurt sales

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CEO John Schnatter complained about NFL players' national anthem demonstrations on an earnings call earlier this month, and seemed to blame a decline in Papa John's sales on the fallout from those protests.

In a series of tweets, the company said they believe in the right to protest inequality and support the players' movement to create change.

Hill also commented on Papa John's apology Tuesday, writing, "This is peak 2017". Except Neo-Nazis - [middle finger emoji] those guys.

Papa John's added that it is "open to ideas from all". Papa John's president and chief operating officer Steve Ritchie has said that research has found that Papa John's has been the most recognized sponsor associated with the NFL for two years running, which he said means the company's performance can track with that of the league.

Several prominent figures criticized Schnatter for his initial insensitive comments, insinuating that pizza sales are more important than taking a stand against racism and police brutality - the reasons behind the majority of players protesting during the anthem.

Israel deploys anti-rocket system following Gaza militants threat
Ten PIJ operatives, including two senior commanders, were killed during Israel's operation to destroy the tunnel. Work on Israel's new underground barrier with Gaza has also been affected by the increased tension.

During an earnings call two weeks ago, Schnatter lashed out at kneeling players and league officials for not solving the controversy.

"The NFL leadership has hurt Papa John's shareholders", Schnatter said. "But good or bad, leadership starts at the top, and this is an example of poor leadership".

While the company sought to distance itself from Schnatter's earlier remarks, Papa John's did not shy away from sharing its feeling towards neo-Nazis. They want to protest. One user asked "what took so long for the 'clarification, '" to which Papa John's replied, "When it became obvious our position wasn't clear we made a decision to act". A user even called out the company for not providing its employees with health benefits, saying, "Until I see John take a knee with the players and give his employees healthcare benefits, I'll get my pizza elsewhere".

The NFL couldn't immediately be reached for comment late Tuesday.

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