Shannon on the Papa John’s CEO NFL protests criticism: ‘I hate the fact that he took a shot at the commissioner’

Shannon Sharpe discusses with Skip Bayless his thoughts on who is really behind the Papa John's CEO's criticisms of the NFL protests which he says are dramatically hurting his business.

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- The NFL is low hanging fruit currently, and anything that seems to be going wrong in America, with your company or anything, it's the NFL's fault. I am surprised Tim Cook, the CEO of Apple, since they didn't sell 20 million iPhone 8, it's the NFL's fault, because they're taking a knee during the national anthem.

Skip, if Papa John's wants to get out of the NFL business, if he no longer wants to be a sponsor at the NFL-- it's reported that he also exclusively sponsored 23 teams. If he wants to get out of that business, go right ahead. I can assure you there's a long list of sponsors that would like to take his place. He's entitled to his opinion, but I just wish he hadn't made it personal.

For me-- I've never heard this before, and I'm sure there have been times that sponsors have been upset with the NFL. But to attack the NFL and its leadership personally, I think he had some needling from someone else. Skip, I'mma let you address that. For me-- now, he's been the exclu-- I think one of the exclusive sponsors of the official pizza of the NFL since 2010. And when his stock was up 10%, he said it because of being in bed with the NFL and Peyton Manning. Never said anything about the leadership. That leadership then is the current leadership now.

SKIP: Yep.

- Let me let me explain something to him and the guy that's behind it, as you do me with Steve Owens. There is a guy behind the curtain that might be doing this to Papa John's. Roger Goodell took over the NFL, Skip, in 2006 from Paul Tagliabue. When he took over, the annual revenue for the NFL was 6.5 billion. Today, currently, it's 13.16 billion. When he took over the NFL, the average NFL team was worth slightly less than 900 million. 898, to be exact. The average NFL team worth-- 2.5 billion. Since Roger Goodell, a little over a decade, six new stadiums have gone up. Super Bowl has been in New York. They've moved the draft around from Philadelphia to Chicago, and now it's going to Dallas.

SKIP: Yep.

- I don't really think any owner can say, you know what? I've lost money under Roger Goodell's leadership.

SKIP: Nope. Not yet.

- They might say, you know what? There are some things that he could have done differently. There are some things we as a whole, as a league, we could have done differently. But I don't really think the owners have a whole lot of problem with the leadership and the direction that Roger Goodell is-- the money that Roger Goodell has made them.

SKIP: I don't know about the leadership and direction, but they do not have a problem with that money, which is why Roger, a couple of years back, made $44 million in one year.

SHANNON: Yeah, and even then-- I mean, and then he took a pay cut. He went down to 34. Oh my goodness. Oh my goodness.

SKIP: [INAUDIBLE]

- I mean, yeah. Exactly. If you look at what he's earned since he's been in office, I think it's around to a quarter of a billion dollars. You and I both know billionaires just don't hand out money freely. Obviously, they're making a lot of money if they feel comfortable handing over that kind of money to a guy. Skip, I just don't like the fact, in what he had to do is that he had to tell the shareholders there's a reason why they missed their forecast.

And the easy thing to do is say, you know what? It's because of the protest. Now, unless those delivery guys are getting out, taking a knee, I don't really see the correlation. There's a lot of things that might maybe factor into this. You know, they're opening new stores all across the-- What is it? Mexico, I think. Opened in Mexico and over in Peru--

SKIP: All over the world.

- -- All over the-- I mean, doesn't that come out of that budget? Did you did you factor that in?

SKIP: Could have hurt your quarterly.

- Exactly. Maybe people are not eating as much pizza. Are they? My question to Papa John's, so people only eat pizza during football season? So that's the only time they eat? So now, if they're not watching football, they're not eating pizza, the gym membership business must be booming. The church membership is definitely increased, because if nobody is watching TV and nobody's eating pizzas, what are they doing, Skip?

SKIP: Yep.

- I hate the fact that he took the shot personally at the commissioner, and I'm not so sure that there's not a person behind that curtain that's nudging him and needling him to do this. Because, in May, it was 32-0, and Commissioner Goodell was going to get this contract extension. And now here we are in November, and all of a sudden, we don't know if that's the best idea. There are some things that need to be changed. You and I both know what we think. We don't know definitely, but we think there's somebody behind this, pulling this, and I just don't like that he made it personal.

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