Papa John’s: NFL anthem protests are hurting pizza sales

Papa John’s: NFL anthem protests are hurting pizza sales
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Papa John's officials say the NFL anthem protests are hurting the company's pizza sales.

"The NFL has hurt us," company founder and CEO John Schnatter said, according to ESPN.

"We are disappointed the NFL and its leadership did not resolve this."

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Papa John's, the official pizza company of the NFL, has a deal with the league and with 23 teams.

The company said it has taken a lot of its NFL advertising off the air, executives told ESPN.

Papa John's President and Chief Operating Officer Steve Ritchie put blame on the NFL for its declined sales estimates. "We expect it to persist unless a solution is put in place," he said. 

President Trump spurred controversy earlier this year when he attacked players who kneel during the national anthem.

The president has called for the NFL to implement a rule requiring that players stand during the anthem. He has said kneeling during the anthem is disrespectful to the flag and the country's military.

Since Trump's comments, multiple players have kneeled or linked arms when the national anthem plays before their games.