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Better pizza. Better football?
Former Papa John’s CEO John Schnatter opened up on “Fearless with Jason Whitlock” late last month about a situation in 2017 in which he claimed Washington Commanders team owner Daniel Snyder and Dallas Cowboys team owner Jerry Jones wanted him to get NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell fired at the height of the national anthem controversy.
Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and John Schnatter attend the DirecTV Super Saturday Night at Pier 40 on February 1, 2014 in New York City.
The New York Post noted Schnatter at the time was feuding with Goodell and blamed him for Papa John’s falling stock. Schnatter in a November 2017 earnings call appeared to be upset with how the national anthem protests affected pizza sales.
“The NFL has been a long and valued partner over the years, but we are certainly disappointed that the NFL and its leadership did not resolve the ongoing situation to the satisfaction of all parties long ago,” Schnatter said.
He was accused of being against the protests, the but company said at the time “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.”
The company added it supported the players’ movement and was “open to ideas from all. Except neo-nazis.”
Schnatter told Whitlock he told Snyder and Jones it wasn’t his job to oust Goodell.
“… Remember, Goodell is a coward, and he is incompetent. And he’s just lucky. Jerry Jones, the owner of the Cowboys, Indra Nooyi [former CEO] with PepsiCo, and Dan Snyder all called me — several other folks — about Goodell’s conduct and the way he was handling this. Jones and Dan Snyder … wanted Goodell fired. This is like …the first of November, end of October.
INGLEWOOD, CALIFORNIA – OCTOBER 04: NFL commissioner Roger Goodell looks on before the Las Vegas Raiders play against the Los Angeles Chargers at SoFi Stadium on October 4, 2021 in Inglewood, California.
(Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
“They called and said, ‘You need to take this guy out. You’re the number one sponsor of the league, as far as notoriety and acceptance and association. Everybody loves you, they love Peyton [Manning]. We hate Goodell.”
Schnatter added: “I said, ‘No. This is not my job to fire your commissioner. He works for you. I just sell pizzas. I have a family of small businesses that, you know, probably 35 percent of our spend’s NFL, it’s down 20 percent. This behavior of not addressing the issue to the owners’ and players’ satisfaction is causing me and my franchisees a lot of problems. And this is going on now for two seasons… I had a free shot from two owners to go after Goodell personally. I didn’t go after him in a vicious, venomous way. I just said, ‘Hey, grow up, be a leader, and fix the problem so my small business owners stop taking it on the chin.’”
Goodell would go on to sign another contract. He reportedly requested nearly $50 million per year in addition to the lifetime use of a private jet.
Dan Snyder, center, co-owner and co-CEO of the Washington Commanders, adjusts his mask as he arrives to unveil his NFL football team’s new identity, Wednesday, Feb. 2, 2022, in Landover, Md.
(AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
Schnatter eventually resigned as chairman after an uproar over his use of the N-word in a 2018 conference call. The full recording was later released and showed he was referring to Colonel Sanders using the word. In the next sentence, the recording heard him say he’s “never used the word.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.