No suspense here: the video shared at the bottom is a segment that aired on ESPN discussing the NFL’s partnership with Papa John’s Pizza. Sports media/pundits have gotten so far off base from simply discussing the game and the players that they’ve resorted to talking about the sponsors. I should just end the article here, the absurdity of the situation speaks for itself.
First, let’s discuss reality. Papa John’s Pizza has spent a ton of money on big name endorsements. They forked over a ton of money for the disastrous Ghostbusters movie (I’ll link that video too!), they’ve also spent money on big name athletes like J.J. Watt (out with a broken leg) and Peyton Manning (retired, broken neck). It’s worth wondering how effective a high profile celebrity endorsement really is to begin with. The Papa John’s in my area closed about a year ago (as did the Pizza Hut), and I’ve been curious ever since.
Have you ordered delivery from any of the major chains recently? The last time I ordered Dominos, a $3 delivery charge was tacked on, and I think the commercials even make sure to state that “delivery charge is not a tip”. There are reasons for the $3 delivery charge, I get it. But it still sucks. For the delivery drivers, I’m sure it sucks having that cut into your tip. By the way, if you’ve never googled “pizza delivery robbery”, do it. I guarantee you will be amazed that anybody delivers pizza anymore. The point is, there are tons of reasons why Papa John’s Pizza is suffering, and when I read that the media is goading on a Papa John’s vs. Pizza Hut narrative, not only do I not believe it, but I cringe.
As far as the actual facts are concerned, Papa John’s spokesperson/business mogul “Papa” John Schnatter made a statement that the NFL’s poor leadership was negatively impacting their pizza sales. Schnatter didn’t say anything controversial about the anthem protest, but everyone is assuming he is referring to the protest.
There’s really nothing wrong here. Schnatter is a businessman and sponsor, and he and his shareholders are obviously unhappy with the NFL’s current product. The ratings are down, and it look like they are about to take an epic faceplant on Veteran’s Day Weekend. As a sponsor, Shnatter actually has every right to blame his underperforming business on the likewise underperforming NFL.
Now we exit reality and step into the unreality of our unrelenting cesspool media. First, there’s the snarky response from the lowest of low-brow journalists. I’ll sum up their cumulative journalistic contributions in two general quotes: “Maybe they should blame their bad sales on bad pizza”, and “Papa John’s: Bitter ingredients, white supremacy”. The race-hustling garbage website The Huffington Post even shipped out a real clickbait beauty titled: “Why The Alt-Right Now Loves Papa John’s”. You can always count on The Huffington Post to publish the worst articles from the absolute worst writers in America.
So there’s a ton of clickbait flying around right now about Papa John’s Pizza. The usual media jackals are trying to make it sound as if Papa John’s is wrong to blame their poor sales on the NFL, primarily because too many media outlets have already gone all-in supporting the NFL players kneeling for the National Anthem. It’s a strange new era where the mainstream media seems to get everything wrong these days. They were wrong about Ghostbusters, they were wrong about Hillary Clinton, and they stubbornly refuse to admit they are wrong about the NFL protest. It seems to me these days that if the media is supporting you or your cause, then you are destined to fail. The last thing you should want is for the media to support you.
What is happening is fairly obvious. When big-spending sponsors start talking publicly about pulling their ads and are criticizing their partnership, it’s not a good thing. You don’t have to be a seasoned businessperson to know this, it is 101-level stuff. If a big corporate sponsor is talking about pulling their ads, then the NFL is losing money.
As usual, I have a couple of predictions about the outcome of these events. Firstly, I think the media is underestimating how potent the Veteran’s Day NFL boycott is going to be. There are a ton of establishments and groups that are going to participate in the boycott next weekend, and the ratings are going to hit record lows. After that, another sponsor will join Papa John’s and raise serious concerns about the business futures of the NFL. The nightmare seems to be unfolding. Commissioner Roger Goodell will be fired (or will resign) for pissing off the sponsors.
Amazingly, there is still ONE solution, one way to put a stop to this mess. ALL of the NFL players have to respectfully stand on Veteran’s Day, end the protest. It’s a longshot, but if it does happen, it could go a long way towards winning back some of the massive chunk of fans they’ve alienated. Some will never be back, but it could stop the bleeding. I don’t think the players are smart enough to do it.
Between social justice warrior Ghostbusters and social justice warrior NFL, maybe Papa John’s is just tired of sponsoring crap.