On Wednesday, the CEO of Papa John’s blamed a decline in earnings on a decline in NFL ratings, which he in turn blamed on the lingering anthem controversy. In response, some blame Cowboys CEO Jerry Jones for putting Papa John up to it.
Here’s a nice saucy slice of conspiracy theory, served up Thursday morning by Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio: “Some blame Cowboys owner Jerry Jones for putting Papa John (Schnatter) up to” saying the NFL’s lingering controversy over protests during the national anthem have caused the pizza company’s earnings to slide.
“The NFL has hurt us. We are disappointed the NFL and its leadership did not resolve this,” Schnatter said before he pulled all Papa John’s advertising from the NFL.
“Leadership starts at the top and this is an example of poor leadership,” Schnatter continued, adding the issue should have “nipped in the bud” early in last year’s season.
This last statement was a clear shot at NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, whose contract extension Jones is trying to derail. Jones is angered at the way Goodell has handled the anthem controversy and over the fact that the suspension of running back Ezekiel Elliott was reinstated earlier this week. Because of this, Jones wants to make sure that Goodell’s contract is not renewed.
Last week, Jones reportedly led a 17-owner conference call discussing whether they could halt a pending contract extension for the commissioner. These owners are furious with Goodell for a few reasons, including how the NFL handled the relocation of teams to Los Angeles and (still) the league’s bungling of the Ray Rice domestic violence case.
“You don’t get to have this many messes over the years like Roger has had and survive it,” one owner said during the call.
Unfortunately, it’s unlikely that Jones can corral enough owners to overthrow a commissioner who has made them a lot of money, as the league would need 24 owners to approve of Goodell’s firing. However, though Goodell’s contract extension was a near certainty last month, it still has not been finalized.
“Maybe Arthur [Blank, the head of the compensation committee] and that committee think they’re on track,” an owner said about Goodell’s extension talks. “But they have a lot more resistance than they counted on — and maybe they don’t know how the resistance is growing as we speak.”