At the beginning of the NFL season of 2016, San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick sat down on the bench during The National Anthem; since then, the act of either kneeling or sitting during the anthem has become a major source of controversy. On the one hand, some people see the act of kneeling during the anthem as disrespectful towards individuals that have given their life for our country and that unless you’re physically unable to stand, then standing is a must for The National Anthem. On the other hand, Kaepernick has stated that the primary reason behind his protest was to show outrage and discontent on the prevalence of police brutality towards African Americans.  Individuals who share these opinions with Kaepernick believe that kneeling or sitting during The National Anthem is an acceptable and valid form of peaceful protest. 



Like with many controversial issues currently  percolating in the American political climate, matters only got far worse when a certain world leader decided to weigh in on the issue. This past September at a Trump rally supporting former Senate candidate Luther Strange in Alabama, Chief Oompa Loompa commented on the NFL protests, saying that if someone were to kneel or boycott The National Anthem, they should be released from the team. The Cheeto-colored President asked his supporters if they thought it would be wonderful if “one of those NFL owners” could fire those “sons of b****es” that decided to kneel during the anthem. 


The President of The United States referring to professional athletes in such a vulgar way did not sit well with current and previous NFL players. Of the many athletes and NFL officials to condemn Trump’s latest spat, was Commissioner — and possible robot — Roger Goodell, who said in a statement to The Guardian that Trump’s comments “demonstrated an unfortunate lack of respect”The following Sunday, countless players either protested the anthem in a variety of ways or simply stayed in the locker room for The National Anthem entirely.  


NFL Commissioner, Roger Goddell

Roger Goodell (Sports Illustrated)

Recently, one legendary pizzeria owner eventually decided to voice his opinions on the protests. John Schnatter, CEO and founder of “the official pizza of the NFL” Papa John’s, said that a dip in business for the famous pizzeria was due to The National Football League (NFL) and their “poor leadership” with the protests. Schnatter also said that the protests are hurting the NFL’s ratings and creating fewer business opportunities for the NFL-sponsored pizzeria. Also on an unrelated note, the white supremacist website “The Daily Stormer” said that Papa John’s is now the “official pizza of the alt-right”. To their credit though, Papa John’s has gone on record to inform the alt-right not to buy their pizza.


Due to the ensuing controversy surrounding his comments, Schnatter announced earlier this week that he will step down as CEO but remain chairman of the board of directors. Chief Operating Officer Steve Ritchie will act as CEO of the brand, and Schnatter will still have his face on every pizza box. Some experts speculate that even though he’s stepped down, Schnatter’s comments could continue to hurt Papa John’s business and its relationship with the NFL.


How do you feel about Papa John’s comments? Tweet me how you feel at @CaptainKasoff.