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AAA  Nov. 15, 2017 2:38 AM ET
Papa John's apologizes for criticizing NFL anthem protests
 THE ASSOCIATED PRESS STATEMENT OF NEWS VALUES AND PRINCIPLES By The Associated Press
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FILE - In this Oct. 2, 2016 file photo, San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick, left, and safety Eric Reid kneel during the national anthem before an NFL football game against the Dallas Cowboys in Santa Clara, Calif. Reid says his Christian faith is the reason why he joined former teammate Colin Kaepernick in kneeling for the anthem. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File)
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Papa John's is apologizing for comments made by CEO John Schnatter blaming sluggish pizza sales on NFL players kneeling during the national anthem.

Papa John's is a major NFL sponsor and advertiser, and Schnatter said on an earnings call Nov. 1 that "NFL leadership has hurt Papa John's shareholders" and that the protests "should have been nipped in the bud a year and a half ago."

The company tweeted a statement Tuesday night saying "the statements made on our earnings call were describing factors that impact our business and we sincerely apologize to anyone that thought they were divisive." Papa John's also says the company supports the "players' movement to create a new platform for change" and that it is "open to ideas from all. Except neo-nazis."

The company's stock has fallen by nearly 13 percent since Schnatter's comments.

Associated Press
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