It may not be delivery, but DiGiorno pizza is delivering some sick burns. The frozen pizza brand slammed Papa John’s after the founder and CEO, John Schnatter, blamed the NFL protests for his company’s dismal sales, leading to an epic Twitter war.
Colin Kaepernick first started kneeling during the National Anthem at football games last year to protest racial injustice and police brutality. Ever since, more and more players have been taking a knee. Things became even more intense recently, though, when Donald Trump weighed in and slammed the players for their protests. Now, taking a knee has become very controversial. For some, it’s a protest of a broken and unjust system and a sign of unity among the players. Others are offended by the protests and call them “unpatriotic.” And there’s been tension between the players, the league, and the owners as a result.
To top it all off; the protests are hurting pizza sales! That’s what Papa John himself claimed earlier this week. Papa John’s has been the official pizza for the NFL since 2010, but they had low sales in the third quarter. According to Schnatter, who donated to Trump’s campaign, the controversy surrounding the protests, plus NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell’s leadership during the crisis and declining NFL viewership, led to the low sales. He claimed that the NFL and its leadership “hurt” Papa John’s by not resolving the protests.
“The NFL has been a long and valued partner over the years, but we are certainly disappointed that NFL and its leadership did not resolve the ongoing situation of all parties. This should have been nipped in the bud a year and a half ago,” Schnatter said of the NFL protests. “The NFL has hurt us and, more importantly, by not resolving the current debacle to the [players’ and owners’] satisfaction, NFL leadership has hurt Papa John’s. Leadership starts at the top, and this is an example of poor leadership.”
Chief operating officer Steve Ritchie added that the NFL protests have affected their sales and will likely to continue to hurt them during the fourth quarter. He also said that competition and store closures from the recent hurricanes played a part in the low sales.
But some pizza lovers just weren’t buying the excuse. And DiGiorno in particular, used the statement to brutally roast the pizza chain. This led to what could be the greatest Twitter feud of the year.
First, the frozen pizza brand took to Twitter to post a bunch of emojis showing their sales were only going up.
DiGiorno even briefly changed their Twitter bio to “Better Pizza. Better Sales. It’s DiGiorno” to poke fun at the Papa John’s “Better Ingredients. Better Pizza.” slogan.
But at the end of the day, DiGiorno reigned supreme. Check out some tweets here.
And DiGiorno’s not the only pizza rival to take a slice out of Papa John’s. Pizza Hut’s parent company, Yum! Brands CEO Greg Creed said that they were “not seeing impact on any of that on our business.”
Papa John’s, meanwhile, has only been hurt more by the scandal. According to Forbes, Schnatter’s net worth fell a whopping $70 million less than 24 hours after Papa John’s released it’s low third-quarter financial report earlier this week, and the company’s shares were down 11 percent.
[Featured Image by Jason Merritt/Getty Images]