NFL And Papa John’s Announce “Mutual” Split

The New York Daily News reports:

Papa John’s and the NFL are splitting up. In a joint statement released on Tuesday, the two announced the pizza franchise will no longer be the official pizza of the NFL.

“The NFL and Papa John’s have made a mutual decision to shift from their official league sponsorship to a focus on partnerships with 22 local NFL teams, presence in broadcast and digital media, and key personalities in the sport,” the statement read.

The relationship began to fracture over the last year, with former CEO John Schnatter blaming the NFL’s handling of players protesting during the national anthem as reason for the decline in sales. Schnatter eventually apologized for his remarks, but stepped down as CEO on Jan. 1 while remaining with the company as a chairman.

It’s believed that Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, who owns dozens of Papa John’s franchises, had egged Schnatter on to make the remarks that ultimately cost him the CEO gig.