Papa John's apologizes for blaming declining sales on NFL protests

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The folks at Papa John's Pizza seem to have realized that a fight with the NFL wasn't one they were going to win.

After the pizza restaurant's CEO John Schnatter blamed the NFL for declining sales two weeks ago, the official league sponsor released a statement Tuesday backing off the initial comments.

The statements made on our earnings call were describing the factors that impact our business and we sincerely apologize to anyone that thought they were divisive. That definitely was not our intention.

We believe in the right to protest inequality and support the players’ movement to create a new platform for change. We also believe together, as Americans, we should honor our anthem. There is a way to do both.

We will work with the players and league to find a positive way forward. Open to ideas from all...

Schnatter is known to be a friend of Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, who has reportedly threatened to sue the league over current contract negotiations with commissioner Roger Goodell.

Related: Jerry Jones calls suggestions he could be ousted 'laughable and ridiculous'