Papa John’s founder John Schnatter has been in the news a few times this year, usually for issues related to the national anthem protests of the NFL. We have covered this in prior posts:

It would be easy to assume Schnatter is stepping down as a result of these scrapes with the NFL but he is remaining with the company as chairman of the board. That hasn’t stopped the media from making assumptions, however.

Note how Nick Turner of Bloomberg describes Schnatter as the “controversial” CEO of Papa John’s:

Papa John’s Controversial CEO Will Hand Reins to Lieutenant

The controversial “papa” from Papa John’s International Inc. is stepping down as chief executive officer.

Company founder John Schnatter will hand the reins to Chief Operating Officer Steve Ritchie as of Jan. 1. The 43-year-old Ritchie, who began as a Papa John’s customer-service rep making $6 an hour in 1996, has been overseeing operations for the past three years.

The move comes less than two months after Schnatter inflamed an outcry over NFL players kneeling during the national anthem. The CEO, whose company is a top sponsor of the league, said that the player protests were mishandled by NFL leadership and hurt the pizza chain’s sales. Papa John’s later apologized for the “divisive” comments.

Schnatter, 56, will remain chairman of the company, which ranks as the third-largest pizza chain. Though the executive will continue to focus on product quality and customer satisfaction, he also plans to pursue “his personal passion for entrepreneurship, leadership development and education,” Papa John’s said.

Kate Taylor of Business Insider apparently got the same memo:

Papa John’s controversial CEO steps down after facing backlash for his criticism of NFL anthem protests

The controversial founder and CEO of Papa John’s, John Schnatter, is stepping down, the company announced Thursday.

The company said its current president, Steve Ritchie, would replace him.

Schnatter sparked controversy in November when he slammed NFL leadership over players’ kneeling during the national anthem to protest racial injustice and police brutality.

Note the fact that Schnatter’s reaction to the NFL kneeling was described as controversial, but not the idea of protesting America’s national anthem by kneeling.

Progressives took full advantage of Schnatter’s comments about the NFL as proof positive that Papa John’s is a secret agent for the alt-right.

The company’s official Twitter account is used mainly for advertising promotions but sometimes has to deal with random, baseless accusations of racism from the left. See below:

Noah Kirsch of Forbes has more on the hard business numbers from Papa John’s:

Papa John’s Founder Steps Down As CEO Amid Volatile Year

This year has been turbulent for the pizza chain, whose stock has fallen over 30% since December 2016. In November it received significant flak after Schnatter declared on an earnings call that national anthem protests in the National Football League were partially to blame for slow sales at the company. His fortune subsequently fell $70 million, to $801 million, as shares plunged. Papa John’s is the NFL’s official pizza sponsor.

Prior to this year’s tumult, the business had been charting a smoother course. Its share price hit an all-time high of nearly $90 in December 2016, and in March 2017, Schnatter—who owns about a quarter of the company’s outstanding shares—earned a spot on Forbes’ World’s Billionaires list for the first time. His net worth has since fallen to an estimated $775 million.

The left will celebrate this as a scalp but rest assured, Schnatter will be just fine.


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