WASHINGTON - The ongoing protests during the National Anthem at NFL games this season have resulted in lower TV ratings and threats of widespread boycotts. But are they linked to a key sponsor’s bottom line?
John Schnatter, CEO of Papa John’s, claims his company’s stock prices have been adversely affected by the ongoing protests and the lack of any action to stem them by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.
"The controversy is polarizing the customer, polarizing the country," Schnatter said on a conference call.
On “The Final 5,” FOX 5's Jim Lokay was joined by Alex Reimer, a sports commentator from WEEI in Boston, who has also written about the confluence of sports and politics for several national publications. Reimer’s theory on why Papa John’s has seen a dropoff?
“They have lousy pizza,” he opined.
Reimer cites President Donald Trump’s decision to use the anthem controversy in a series of tweets and at a now-infamous campaign event in Alabama to stoke the outrage. He thinks the controversy would have died off had the White House not been involved.
“If you don’t want to mix sports and politics, blame President Trump,” Reimer said.
Still, not all businesses with a financial stake in the NFL are seeing a dropoff. Papa John’s competitor Domino’s has seen a steady increase in sales numbers, and Buffalo Wild Wings and Kohl's say they continue to see no adverse effects.
In the video player above, watch Jim Lokay's interview with Alex Reimer on FOX 5's "The Final 5."