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Papa John's apologizes for criticizing NFL players' national anthem protests

Papa John's is apologizing for comments made by CEO John Schnatter blaming sluggish pizza sales on NFL players kneeling during the national anthem.

Papa John's is a major NFL sponsor and advertiser, and Schnatter said on an earnings call Nov. 1 that "NFL leadership has hurt Papa John's shareholders" and that the protests "should have been nipped in the bud a year and a half ago."

The company tweeted a statement Tuesday night saying "the statements made on our earnings call were describing factors that impact our business and we sincerely apologize to anyone that thought they were divisive."

Papa John's also says the company supports the "players' movement to create a new platform for change" and that it is "open to ideas from all. Except neo-nazis."

The company's stock has fallen by nearly 13 percent since Schnatter's comments.