In response to a Twitter user's wry observation that Papa John's "really needed 2 weeks to come up with a "sorry you were offended" statement", the company replied, "We agree it took too long".
It took nearly two weeks for the company to speak on the topic again, but this time, they released a series of tweets apologizing for their actions and blaming players who were peacefully protesting police brutality and social injustices during the Anthem.
Papa John's Apologizes for 'Divisive' Comments
Many fans on both sides of the national anthem protests debate have took to boycotting the NFL - with some saying they refuse to watch another game until Colin Kaepernick is signed, while others say they'll continue to boycott the NFL until the anthem protests end.
While Papa John's previously blamed the anthem protests for their declining pizza sales, they now say they will work with the National Football League and players in order to move forward in a "positive" manner.
Papa John's flipped a bird to neo-Nazis in a message on Twitter on Tuesday night, while promising to "work with players and the league to find a positive way forward". "Except neo-nazis", the company tweeted, offering a "middle finger" emoji to "those guys".
"This should have been nipped in the bud a year and a half ago", Schnatter said. "The controversy is polarizing the customer, polarizing the country".
"Leadership starts at the top and this is an example of poor leadership", Schnatter said. Open to ideas from all. "NFL leadership has hurt Papa John's shareholders". Rhoten, who identified himself as doing the tweeting for Papa John's Tuesday, added. The controversy kicked off after San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick took a knee during the national anthem past year, inspiring other players to engage in similar forms of protest to recognize racial inequality and police brutality.