Papa John’s takes a knee in earnings call controversy

Judging by the tweets from Papa John’s Pizza, a lot of people boycotted the company after its CEO took exception to the NFL players protest for racial equity.

“We are certainly disappointed that NFL and its leadership did not resolve the ongoing situation to the satisfaction of all parties this should have been nipped in the bud a year and a half ago,” John Schnatter, the CEO, said in a conference call explaining disappointing earnings a few weeks ago.

Schnatter is a supporter of President Donald Trump and people who support the goals of the NFL players took it out on the pizza chain.

So in tweets last evening, the company said Schnatter didn’t mean what people thought he meant.

To the company’s credit, the brand’s social media manager — apparently the chief marketing officer in this case — is engaging with the now-former customers on the non-apology apology, like why it took so long to issue a “clarification.”

“We posted this today because it became obvious over the last week people didn’t understand our position,” the company said. “We should have followed our gut from the beginning but followed advice not to speak up — it’s time we are clear.”

It didn’t say who offered the advice to stay silent while the company’s brand value evaporated. The company’s stock also dropped 13 percent.