When Papa John's founder John Schnatter took a shot at the NFL last November, blaming it for "poor leadership" amid players kneeling during the national anthem, it was seen as a temporary piece of bad news that should eventually fade away.
Months later, it's clear that was only the beginning of a terrible run of missteps and mistakes by Schnatter, company executives and the board of directors.
Since then, the third-largest pizza chain has been embroiled in a controversy over a racist comment, claims of extortion and litigation threats — all of which are hammering pizza sales at Papa John's across the country. The stock is down more than 33 percent since Schnatter's Nov. 1 analyst call where he blamed the NFL for a falloff in business.
That debacle, bad as it was, has only gotten worse. It's highlighted an apparent lack of internal controls, illustrated the dangers of tying a company's brand to its CEO and opened the door to potentially nasty litigation. It's also left the company vulnerable to takeover.