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Papa John’s CEO Steps Down After NFL Backlash

John Schnatter, the founder of the Papa John’s pizza chain, will step down as CEO in the wake of controversial comments he made last month about the NFL’s handling of the anthem protests.

Schnatter sparked controversy in November when he pulled Papa John’s NFL commercials amid the ongoing NFL player protests.

In a statement announcing his decision last month, Schnatter said the protests were hurting his brand.

“Leadership starts at the top, and this is an example of poor leadership,” he said, referring to the league’s refusal to stop the players from protesting.

On Thursday, the company said its current president, Steve Ritchie, would replace Schnatter.

Schnatter owns 25% of Papa John’s and plans to step down as CEO in January 2018.

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