He has since apologized for the inappropriate language.
Papa John's has once again shot itself, blowing off its metaphorical foot. The company's product is already bad enough, but its founder's recent fumbles have added to the chain's tarnished reputation. John Schnatter attributed declining sales to the NFL protests against police brutality. His statement acquired fans from the alt-right movement and ultimately forced him to step down from his position as CEO. He remains onboard as a chairman and he is still the face of the brand.
Schnatter has yet to heal from his bigoted mind. He basically failed a "role-playing exercise" meant to prevent future PR mishaps. It was held during a conference call in May. The entrepreneur was asked how he would "distance himself from racist groups," to which he responded,"Colonel Sanders called blacks n*****s” and didn't face backlash." This wasn't just a slip up either. He also managed to include his recalling of lynching in his hometown of Indiana, when Black Americans were dragged from trucks to their death. These memories are said to have been brought up in an effort to demonstrate how un-racist Schnatter is, but it obviously offended multiple people who were on the call.
The former CEO has offered the following apology:"News reports attributing the use of inappropriate and hurtful language to me during a media training session regarding race are true. Regardless of the context, I apologize. Simply stated, racism has no place in our society"
Papa John's sales are most likely set to keep declining. John Schnatter's stance on the NFL protests already caused a 25% dip in revenue. The former NFL sponsor's previous apologies haven't boosted their sales significantly. Their PR team truly needs to step up if they want to remain in this game.