Papa John's CEO Steps Down Amid Controversial Comments About NFL Protests

Celebrities Attend Race- 2015 Indy 500

Today, Papa John's stock closed a 2-cent loss.

Schnatter will be replaced as chief executive by Chief Operating Officer Steve Ritchie on January 1, the company announced Thursday.

The company gave no reason for the change, but it comes after the public relations disaster when Schnatter shared his thoughts about players who took a knee during the national anthem to protest the treatment of black Americans, particularly by police. "This should have been nipped in the bud a year-and-a-half ago". After these comments were made, the alt-right and white supremacists declared Papa John's their official pizza.

Schnatter has now decided he would step down as CEO of Papa John's, effective immediately. A press release from the company said he would "pursue his personal passion for entrepreneurship, leadership development, and education". He stepped down in 2005, but returned in 2008. Schnatter argued that Obamacare would cost Papa John's $5 million-$8 million annually and ultimately drive up the price of pizza. "We couldn't have a more proven leader to guide Papa John's through its next stage of growth". Papa John's shares slumped about 4.2% during the controversy, Forbes reported. Schnatter's statements also appear to have cost him his job.

The NFL is crucial to Papa John's business.

"America in 2016 is on the path to becoming what Germany was in 1867", Schnatter writes in "Papa".

Industry insiders were caught off guard by Schnatter's decision. Schnatter often appears in advertisements during National Football League games, and has credited its close relationship with the National Football League and particularly quarterback Peyton Manning for sales boosts in the past. The CEO donated $1,000 to President Trump's campaign but did not make any effort to publicly support the politician.

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