Papa John’s just got sacked again. The NFL recently dropped the pizza maker after company founder and then-CEO John Schnatter blamed poor sales on “Take a Knee” demonstrations. Although he later apologized for his comments, the 56-year-old’s namesake brand was ultimately benched. Now, to make matters worse, the chain’s star franchisee is also calling it quits.
Two days before Papa John’s was replaced by Pizza Hut as the league’s official sponsor, retired Colts and Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning sold his stake in 31 Papa John’s stores in Denver, Colorado, the New York Post reports. The Louisiana native, who has owned company shares since 2012, remains on with the brand as a celebrity spokesman and ambassador due to a binding contract.
According to The Denver Post, another current Papa John’s franchisee bought all 31 properties.
“The franchisee that purchased the market is excited about the future of our business and assumed ownership of all Papa John’s locations in the Denver, Co., market on Feb. 26, 2018,” Papa John’s spokesperson Peter Collins told the paper.
The Daily Meal has reached out to Papa John’s for further comment.
The embattled chain’s falling out with Manning is only the latest in a series of ill-fated events. Following Schnatter’s anti-protest remarks, his personal net worth dropped $70 million overnight and ultraconservatives claimed the company’s pies as the “official pizza of the alt-right.” After the Indiana native stepped down as CEO, Twitter crowned Lil Jon as his replacement.