But we what we do know is that back in November, Schnatter said Papa John's was "disappointed that the National Football League and its leadership did not resolve the ongoing situation to the satisfaction of all parties long ago". After these comments were made, the alt-right and white supremacists declared Papa John's their official pizza. But he recently ran into controversy when he blamed NFL players' mass move to drop to one knee during the playing of the national anthem as affecting his company's sales.
What made this more puzzling was that Papa John's third-quarter sales were pretty much in line during the hard period.
"This should have been nipped in the bud a year and a half ago", Schnatter said on a conference call with investors in November.
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John Schnatter founded the chain in the 1980s and will stay on as its chairman, but leave the other seat on January 1.
He said the practice of players kneeling during the anthem to raise awareness of police brutality and social injustice hurt the NFL's TV ratings, which in turn hurt sales of his pizza, which is advertised heavily during games. "We condemn racism in all forms and any and all hate groups that support it". It's not the first time Schnatter has stepped down. He removed himself from the gig in 2005 before returning in 2008.
Ritchie, 43, began his career with the pizza chain in 1996 as a customer service representative and slowly worked his way up, eventually becoming a franchisee owner in 2006. He also added a co-CEO, Jude Thompson, in 2010 before ending the arrangement a year later.
The backlash was swift, with many promising to boycott Papa John's in response to Schnatter's comments.