The NFL has been a magnet for scandals.
The worst controversy stemmed from the anti-American anthem protests started by Colin Kaepernick.
And this CEO confessed that NFL owners wanted him to do one shocking thing.
Former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick created a massive headache for the league when he kneeled for the American flag and the national anthem in 2016.
NFL owners were furious that Commissioner Roger Goodell did nothing to quell the situation.
Goodell took advice from newly hired public relations czar Joe Lockhart, Bill Clinton’s former press secretary.
Goodell, with the counsel of Lockhart, did not nip the protests in the bud, and they eventually spread, causing a serious problem for the owners.
That’s when Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and Washington Commanders owner Dan Snyder called John Schnatter, founder and former CEO of Papa John’s Pizza, and wanted him to get rid of Goodell.
At the time, Papa John’s was the biggest sponsor of the league and had an endorsement deal with Peyton Manning, a beloved figure.
Schnatter chastised “NFL leadership,” but refused to kneecap Goodell; he told Jones and Snyder they would have to fire their own commissioner.
In an interview with sports columnist Jason Whitlock on his YouTube show Fearless, Schnatter explained, “Goodell is a coward and he is incompetent and he’s just lucky. Jerry Jones, the owner of the Cowboys, Indra Nooyi 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 with the Redskins wanted Goodell fired…[T]hey 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. We hate Goodell.”
Many criticized Goodell for his handling of the protests that not only carried on, but bled into the 2017 and 2018 seasons.
Schnatter went on to explain how much Jones and Snyder disliked the job Goodell was doing throughout the controversy.
He added, “Snyder says, ‘He sits on 57th street all day long and drinks chardonnay, he’s a drunk, and yet we pay him $50 million a year’…I said, ‘No, this is not my job to fire your commissioner. He works for you. I just sell pizzas.’”
Schnatter went on to explain how his ad buys for the NFL dropped because of the anti-American anthem protests and the damage they did to the league and affiliated businesses.
Schnatter was eventually run out of the company he founded over a bogus controversy cooked up by a left-wing PR firm that he had hired.
Kaepernick’s damage to the NFL was far greater than anyone realized at the time.
At least a handful of power brokers wanted Goodell gone, but he kept his spot.