Former Papa John’s CEO says NFL team owners ‘hate’ Roger Goodell, wanted him to ‘take this guy out’

At the height of the NFL’s national anthem controversy over kneeling players, John Schnatter, formerly the CEO of the NFL’s top pizza sponsor, Papa John’s, was reportedly asked by Daniel Snyder, owner of the Washington Commanders, and Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones to get NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell fired.

In a candid interview on “Fearless with Jason Whitlock,” the now-ousted Schnatter told Whitlock the team owners wanted him to “take this guy out.”

“…Remember, Goodell is a coward, and he is incompetent. And he’s just lucky,” Schnatter told Whitlock. “Jerry Jones, the owner of the Cowboys, Indra Nooyi [former CEO] with PepsiCo, and Dan Snyder all called me — several other folks — about Goodell’s conduct and the way he was handling this. Jones and Dan Snyder… wanted Goodell fired. This is like… the first of November, end of October.”

“They called me and said, ‘You need to take this guy out. You’re the number one sponsor of the league, as far as notoriety and acceptance and association.  Everybody loves you, they love Peyton [Manning]. We hate Goodell,'” Schnatter said.

Schnatter took his own jabs at Goodell in a November 2017 conference call in which the pizza mogul blamed the NFL’s national anthem protests on for Papa John’s falling stocks, the New York Post reports. As the players took a knee, millions of viewers boycotted the games.

“NFL leadership has hurt Papa John’s shareholders,” Schnatter said at the time, regarding Goodell’s failure to prevent NFL players from protesting what they claimed was  racism and police brutality while the national anthem played.

According to Schnatter, he declined to act against the commissioner.

“I said, ‘No,'” Schnatter said. “This is not my job to fire your commissioner. He works for you. I just sell pizzas.”

“I have a family of small businesses that, you know, probably 35 percent of our spend’s NFL, it’s down 20 percent. This behavior of not addressing the issue to the owners’ and players’ satisfaction is causing me and my franchisees a lot of problems. And this is going on now for two seasons…”

“I had a free shot from two owners to go after Goodell personally,” Schnatter continued. “I didn’t go after him in a vicious, venomous way. I just said, ‘Hey, grow up, be a leader, and fix the problem so my small business owners stop taking it on the chin.'”

Goodell went on to sign another contract, and Schnatter would soon have bigger problems of his own.

In July 2018, Schnatter was forced to resign as CEO of the company he founded after using a racial slur on a May conference call with a marketing agency in which he criticized the national anthem protests.

“On the May call, Schnatter was asked how he would distance himself from racist groups online,” a source told Forbes at the time. “He responded by downplaying the significance of his NFL statement. ‘Colonel Sanders called blacks n—–s,’ Schnatter allegedly said, before complaining that Sanders never faced public backlash.”

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